Five Bunny Hops

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

9 thoughts on “Five Bunny Hops

  1. Lovely to see you back in fine form, Steve. This is one of those FF bands that had always slipped through the cracks for me, so, thanks to your excellent post, I’ll be checking them out. Glad to have you back on the FF trail.

    Someone please come and comment on my podcasts!!!

  2. Never heard of them!

    …which makes me all the more eager to give this a listen and find out what I missed.

    Excellent work.

  3. Hey I was in Harveys Rabbit (played guitar, but not the best bits; and wrote some songs)and I’ve just happened along this website and the nice comments written here about the band and the music we made
    Thanks, you’ve given me a warm glow

  4. Hey, thanks Mick, I’m really happy to get feedback from any bands involved with Peel. Please drop me a line at any time. Sometime I will get round to reloading this page and restoring the links to your music, if that’s all right by you!

  5. That’s fine with me. I was recently talking to Dave who played the good bits of gutiar with the band, and we were discussing putting out some bits and pieces by the band which were never released at the time of recording so I’ll let you know if it happens.
    Keep up the good work and thanks

  6. thanks so much for this – i rate harvey’s rabbit’s single of “is this what you call change?” as one of my very favourite singles of all time. it’s just a gorgeous, glorious thing – so happy to have the session as well

  7. No worries Chris, agree with you about the single wholeheartedly. So nice to have such co-operation from some areas of the music industry: thanks again, Mick.

  8. Wow, thats one of the nicest compliments i have ever heard, I am David Chorlton and I played the Bass for Harveys Rabbit . . I spent some of the best years of my live driving from gig to gig recording some great tunes and mixing with the great and the good. . its hard to believe it is getting on 20 years since we all first me up

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