Lennon meets The Pet Shop Boys

Cloudcuckooland Scouse nerd Ian Broudie was promoted to rock’s premier league when he teamed up with Skinner and Baddiel for the lamentable football song Three Lions On A Shirt. However, before he was adopted by the sports casual brigade whose sole contribution to the music industry is to buy three CDs a year from Asda, Broudie brilliantly married trad Merseybeat with an electronic bleep or two on Cloudcuckooland.

Back in the ’80s, our Ian (ex Big In Japan and The Original Mirrors) was a mop-topped Mersey Pop geek who had made a name for himself by producing Echo and The Bunnymen, The Icicle Works, The Fall and Shack. In 1990, he embarked on a solo project under the monicker of The Lightning Seeds. The result was Cloudcuckooland – one of the finest jangly guitar albums of the Nineties. Fact.

With its gorgeous imagery (rainbows, daydreams and shooting stars), parping Penny Lane brass, a twangin’ Duane Eddy style lick and sugar-sweet keyboard chords, first single, Pure, is the perfect pop song – an anthem for love struck indie spods everywhere. (Yep, that’s us!) Its close cousin, All I Want, is just as good, opening with a sublime Beatlesy guitar motif before heading skywards on a wave of moondust (god, I’m turning into Ian Broudie!). It’s not all sweetness and beauty, though. Bound In A Nutshell may be a frosted kiss of a pop tune, but its subject matter is more serious – Broudie makes his anti Tory views clear in a song that is haunted by the spectre of Thatcher’s government and outlines the plight of the Liverpool dockers.

Best of all, though, is Joy – mournful synth-pop that sounds like Lennon fronting The Pet Shop Boys. When Cloudcuckooland was released, it only reached number 50 in the charts, staying there for two weeks. Pure went top 20, but the follow-up singles Joy and All I Want failed to chart and Broudie turned back to production work. He eventually went on to have massive success with The Lightning Seeds, but only by dropping his fey indie sound in favour of bland, conveyor belt dadpop for football fans. Forget ‘Jules Rimet still gleaming’, Cloudcuckooland is Broudie’s shining glory.

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One Response to “Lennon meets The Pet Shop Boys”

  1. threetoedsloth Says:

    This has to be one of the frilliest, girliest albums ever made by a man, and I never play it for anyone in case they make fun of me, but the whole thing is terrific. Pure is a truly flawless song.

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