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2023/4 Albums Thing 303 - The Seers “Psych Out”

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Bristol University Students Union, 20th October 1988 was my first experience of The Seers. They were opening for The Wonder Stuff that night on the “Groovers On Manoeuvres” UK tour. Once we reached the allotted time for them to be finished, they didn’t, they just launched into another song. Eventually myself and Digby had to literally pull the plugs on them to get them off the stage. OK, it was a home town gig for them but this was not behaviour that would usually endear me to a support band. However The Seers were so bloody good you couldn’t help but like them.

So what were they like ? Well if you took a dollop of Glam Rock, mixed in a generous helping of Punk Rock and season all that with Garage, Psychedelia and good ol’ rawk ’n’ roll you’ll be on the way to cooking up your own Seers. Frontman Spider was a certifiable nutcase usually to be found somewhere he shouldn’t be, on top of a PA stack, hanging from a lighting rig or crowd surfing. They were veterans, at this point, of releases on four different Indie labels and who knows how many nights on the same Indie club circuit as the Mega City Four, Senseless Things, Neds Atomic Dustbin and others.

First up “Wild Man” kicks things off with a riff lifted straight from Slade (“How D’You Ride” from “Slayed?” if you must know) speeded up somewhat. “Rub Me Out” rocks just as hard and features a fabulous guitar “chug” (something I particularly enjoy) at around 2 minutes. “One Summer” shows The Seers more Indie/Psych leanings and then we reach the first of their big hitters, “Welcome To Dead Town”…

“Psych Out” was produced by Pat Collier at his Greenhouse Studios in North-East London, the same producer and studio where The Wonder Stuff recorded their albums “The Eight Legged Groove Machine and “HUP”. Now I don’t recall where I heard this (it may have been from Spider, it may, equally, be utter tosh) but Spider mentioned to Pat Collier that he admired The Wonder Stuff’s sound and wanted to write something in that vein, “oh that’s easy” the producer replied “just write something using G-C and D chords” ! So Spider did and the result was “Welcome To Dead Town”. And honestly I could imagine it as a TWS song, it’s not a million miles (pardon the pun) removed from “A Wish Away” (a song which isn’t based around G-C and D chords incidentally) and it’s a killer song to boot.

Its not the only one, a couple of tracks later we find “You Keep Me Praying”, a blissed out Psychedelic hymnal featuring some frankly impressive vocal harmonising. Side 2 really gets going with “Sun Is In The Sky” with an intro that’s equal parts “Last Train To Clarksville” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (if you’re gonna nick an intro Slade and The Monkees are good places to look). Everything comes to an end with the Hanoi Rocks-ish “(All Nite Late Bar) Tequila Drinkin' Blues” replete with a fiddle toward the end! Except that’s not where it ends as the original release came with a bonus 7” that featured a cover of The Open Mind’s garage-punk classic “Magic Potion” and The Seers 1988 single “Lightning Strikes”.

I’m still in contact with Spider, he buys records from me occasionally and now has a very responsible job in the NHS. On the rare times we meet up one of us will always bring up that plug pulling incident at Bristol Uni.

Welcome To Dead Town - https://youtu.be/V_lh1t2mHiM?si=J4L11seV9Zc8_Zj1

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