track by track

(from an interview April 2001)

Ginny - There's a much clearer direction on this record - the last one was great fun, but it didn't quite know if it was a pop record or a folk record. Some people liked that, but I think the media didn't quite know how to take it and where to put it, whereas this one, I think, is a straight ahead depressive record! Barbara - It could go in the same category as The Walkabouts' records, maybe... DRUNK ON HALLELUJAHS G - We were in Pete's sitting room in Hackney. I was noodling on the was a noodler. It's essentially about guardian angels. Of course we all have them and they take care of us but some of them can be lazy and errant and need sacking (or spanking!). RISE & SHINE G - Murder. Middle America. The final row. A bit of a bummer as it wasn't meant to end like that! Inspired by favourite author E. Annie Proulx (The Shipping News). SHE WAS THE DYNAMITE G - Pete began with throwing in a first line, and then we were off. Another sad tale about a roller coaster train of a woman who'll run you over, and leave blood on your sheets. It's about an old friend, and we end up writing about all the people he falls in love with. SHIP G - We co-wrote the lyrics (to the verses) with Syd (Straw). She was very nervous, because she really likes what we do, and we really like what she does. She arrived in my kitchen and sat down and said 'so how do you girls go about this? I like to go and hide in the other room, and then pop my head around the door and go "I might have something here!"' So we played around and eventually got something together. - How did Billy Bragg get involved? B - We have a blowjob account, it's well known. We never pay. It's become a very long account. G - Simon Edwards, my star of a husband, plays with Billy. He'd been rehearsing with him at The Sunday School studios in Elephant & Castle. So we were there once, and knew Billy was in the next room and so we went 'Oi Bill! and Oi! Blokes, get your arses in here!' With Ian McLagan, we'd sent him the song, and he recorded his bits over it, and then sent it back to us. Which was quite a good and cheap way of doing things. TOO MUCH GIRL B - I won't name the person... actually I don't think it's anybody's business...I fell for this guitarist/singer/songwriter guy. It's about losing yourself in someone, and thinking 'Oh no, I'm here again.' I'd thought after a few years that I was holding my own and I wasn't falling so hard and I hadn't lost all these bits of myself in this rather brief encounter of 12 hours or whatever, which of course, I had. It was big trouble. Big danger emotionally speaking. FIX B - We really can't say anything other than it's another sad tale. G - It's a story of a growling love creeping around under your skin and it becoming an obsession without you even noticing until it's too late. B - ...and you're sunk, absolutely sunk. THIS IS HELL B - My Dad died last summer and he'd had Alzheimer's for four years and when it was first starting to show itself, I wrote the words as to what I thought was in his head, and then Ginny came up with a riff, and we worked from that till we had it. DAMAGE B- Pete will sometimes come up with an idea, or a first line, but eventually we all chip in until it's a conglomeration of all of our ideas. It's another sad tale. Pretty sad album really. We did have happier songs, but they just didn't go with this album. And they're not actually that happy, they're still sad, but just sound a bit more upbeat. G - They're jaunty, and our manager hates them. B - One is called 'I Don't Wanna Be Me'... G - 'I don't wanna be me/ hang myself from a tree/ I don't wanna be me anymore...' It's not especially chirpy is it? SKINNING B - That came from a painful little poemy thing that I'd scribbled out. It's quite miserable, but quite potent. It's about embracing change, really, and saying 'I'm outta here'. G - It's about being uncomfortable in your skin. B - It's about hope as well, it's about taking strength from that and moving on to a better place. We used to refer to it as our Patti Smith number. G - We did, but then Babs looked like Patti Smith. We can't call it that anymore. B - I just don't have long enough hair. G - Actually when we gig it will go all over your face, it'll be great! CRACK MY HEART G - I recall you were walking on the heath, and saying that you just couldn't feel anything. You were saying how beautiful it was, but you just couldn't feel any of it. I understand that. It's like a place that you go to, but it's all 'over there'. You see and go 'really beautiful isn't it?' and you're so numb and you can't feel it. Depression. B - The flip side of depression.... It's not necessarily the worst throes when you're so completely miserable that you feel everything so strongly. When you're like that, you want to be numb - you just want to not feel anything at all, ever. But then if you achieve that, it's equally uncomfortable to feel nothing, to be unable to feel. G - It's the Bell Jar effect. Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar - a book that we both really love. It's like when you're stuck in your head and all you can hear is your own voice. FINAL WORD ON SKIRT G - It's a very night-time record. Having said that, I have played it in the morning and it does have a sort of peacefulness about it. B - I think it'd be probably a very good car record, for a long journey towards a desert.