“Road Movie” (1989)
A note on the album
Road Movie was recorded in Swan Studios, Birmingham, in late-1989, and slated for release on our own label Magic Records in 1990. Drummer Les Mun had left the band, replaced by Aled Richards. The line-up was original members Matt and Mike, with Nigel Boulton on lead guitar, Aled on drums, and Chris Jones, an old friend from Llanelli then living in Bearwood, Birmingham, on harmonica and zurna. Road Movie was due to be our second release on Magic, which we founded with ex-Cherry Red man Scott Longley. Due to the tragic death of our backer Brian Longley, Scott’s father, it was never released.
The Hepburns, who had signed to Cherry Red in December 1986, had been released from a 5-album deal after just one album, The Magic of The Hepburns (1988). We never found out why we were ‘let go’. Our debut LP was well received, although the rash of guitar bands that had appeared in the wake of critically and commercially successful ‘indie’ bands such Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and The Smiths had fallen from favour with NME and Melody Maker journalists between 1986 and 1989.
In any case, we did not see ourselves as a standard ‘indie’ band. While our sound was definitely influenced by Edwyn Collins et al, we also paid musical homage to John Barry, Ennio Morricone, and Burt Bacharach. Being young, bloody-minded, and Welsh, we set about writing and recording Road Movie with a vengeance. We had a point to prove and we did it by mixing ‘indie’, not just with easy listening, but with numerous other musical influences, from XTC to The Carpenters to Led Zeppelin, peppering the songs with references to whichever genre came to hand. There are overdriven double-necked guitars alongside brass, harmonicas, vibraslaps, referees whistles, and the much-neglected middle-eastern zurna.
The trouble with ‘indie’, the press seemed to think, was it was too earnest, too twee, and the anorak-clad vocalists and guitarists sang and played out of tune on purpose. While The Hepburns to this day cannot guarantee an in-tune vocal, we are Welsh and were therefore discouraged from a young age by a certain native sarcasm from being earnest and twee. As for the playing, we were joined on this album by Aled Richards, who went on to warm the Catatonia drum stool, and by Nigel Boulton, the self-styled ‘King of Wales’, both of whom impart a cutting edge to the sound, which consequently is about as twee as the Pontypool front row.
released January 8, 2017
Matt Jones - Guitar & Vocals
Mike Thomas - Bass
Nigel Boulton (The King Of Wales) - Lead Guitar
Aled Richards - Drums
Cronsey - Harmonica, Zurna & Artwork.
Paul Robertson - Shaker (Mr. Popularity)
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