Five Bunny Hops: Session tracks reloaded. Many thanks to Mick Pullan of Harvey’s Rabbit for information and encouragement.
The UK music scene is experiencing a new golden era. It goes far beyond the current buoyant Brit-pop scene and bands are again writing wonderful new songs for an audience that’s frankly bored to death by shitty ‘contemporary-hit-radio-formula’ musak stations. [David Lyons, front man for Harvey's Rabbit]
Is there such a thing as ‘single to album lag syndrome’? If so, Manchester band Harvey’s Rabbit must be up there with the prime sufferers (along with Glenn Goldsmith and the Redskins, but we’ll get to the latter at some point). They started out life supporting the Fall, and running a label on a shoestring budget and 2 staff, 40 miles from Camden. They had a successful one-off Peel session broadcast in July 1994. Then the following year came the shimmering and seductive pop of the Robert Forster song Is This What You Call Change? (FF 1995 #42). Take a moment, sit in your favourite deckchair, pour a pint of lemonade (as sour as you like) and immerse yourself in this minor masterpiece that softly batters its eco-message into your ears on what might be the sunniest of days, as if reminding you that times like that are being priced out of existence.
It sold out of its initial pressing in four days, and suddenly they were the darlings of the NME. The future looked rosy. Then the syndrome kicked in with a vengeance. Two singles and two years later, they finally made an LP, The New Spiritual Vacuum, which the NME (again) characterized as ‘a timeless, zeitgeist-free world of scruffy suits and grey skies; of marginally fierce attitude and chipper, slightly chummy tunes shot through with deadpan grace.’
And that, apparently, is all she wrote: their website still lists that LP as a new release, twelve years on. It seems like the world has left them behind, and yet, discovering their music anew through that extraordinary, magnificently understated session, and in a bleak future where we all wish we could just get on a train and put it behind us, I feel we need them now more than ever.
Check out the page I made, but which is nearly all written by Michael Pullan, here on the Peel Wiki.
Harvey’s Rabbit, Peel Session
Lie So Well/Whatever Happened To/Is This What You Call Change/Thorny Place