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Vinyl Unknown #1: Stare – Stare EP

This is the first (and maybe the last?) in a series of posts where I pick up vinyl extremely cheaply (this cost me £1) with no prior knowledge of the band who made it. I then give a background to the band, and a quick review of the music on the EP/LP.

This vinyl is by Stare, who are an Indie/Jangle-pop band from Norfolk, England. Members include, Michael Brown, Karl Goodbody, Derek O’Sullivan and lead singer Richard Hammerton

Between 1991 and 1992 they released 3 EPs (Stare, Mood and Work) on the Fusebox label, however they disbanded just a year later in 1993, playing their final gig at the arts centre in Norwich in 1992.

The single ‘Stare’ which had garnered the band so much attention wasn’t barcoded, meaning that according to the charts, despite selling enough records to place #22, it has sold zero… Hammerton contends that it was this piece of bad luck which took the wind out the sails of the band and ultimately led to them not releasing their album

However, some 18 years later in 2011 the band reformed and within a year had released the album ‘The Luxury of Anger’ which included songs from the string of EPs and a number of previously unreleased tracks.

In 2018, Stare are something of an Enigma. Their website gives the option to purchase the domain, and none of the EPs can be found on streaming sites. However, the album from their reformation is available on Spotify and includes all four tracks from the EP.

With lead single Stare, the EP starts off on the strong foot. Immediately, the jangly, twee guitars are reminiscent of more established bands from the same period such as the Field Mice. However, this band are significantly less twee, a label which is perhaps wrongly applied by their Wikipedia page.

Cactus Bush, the second track on side 1, is noticeably more downbeat, and has a hint of shoegaze dreariness to it. The vocals are mixed lower letting the guitars do their work.

On side 2, Salvation feels like a combination of the two tracks that preceded it. It manages to capture the catchiness of Stare, and all the haziness of Cactus Bush. I couldn’t resist repeatedly shouting ‘I’ll find salvation… somehow!’ each time the chorus rolled around. The final track, This house does little to stand out from others on the EP has the feel of a B-Side.

 

If you want to know more, on the Bands youtube page, there’s a documentary where the lead singer Richard Hammerton tells all about his music career, and what led to the formation of Stare.

You can buy ‘The Luxury of Anger’ on Amazon here

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