Sunday, February 11, 2024

Cleaners from Venus: Summer in a Small Town

I never stop tweeting the Cleaners from Venus song Ilya Kuryakin Looked at Me, so I thought it was time I chose another one of their tracks here. 

Summer in a Small Town comes from the album Under Wartime Conditions, which was first issued on tape in 1984. By then the only constant member of Cleaners from Venus was Martin Newell, who wrote all the songs.

But this didn't make Newell a reclusive perfectionist: his  songs have the throwaway quality of a lot of the best pop.

Ned Raggett, revisiting the album for Pitchfork in 2013, wrote:
If there was more depth and variety to the muffled beats on the opening 'Summer in a Small Town' - as close as the Cleaners got to funk - the introductory chatter, barbed expressions of contentment, and roughly textured vocals would definitely trace Newell’s increasingly parallel path towards that of future collaborator Andy Partridge of XTC.
And he thought Under Wartime Conditions look backed too:
Meanwhile a tip of the hat to a mutual inspiration (also noting the perils of fandom) with 'Song for Syd Barrett' once again showed Newell's propensity for lyrics that initially read as bucolic and pastoral, but revealed themselves to be questioning and uneasy.
So if you like XTC and early Pink Floyd - and I think of Liberal England readers as the sought of people who do - it's worth exploring the Cleaner from Venus.

1 comment:

brandnewguy said...

Martin's still busy making music and sharing his songs – he's active on Patreon and even doing some gigs outside his beloved Essex, which he once swore he'd never do.