Trip to The Dentists

Compared with most anaemic indie bands from 1985, whose members would struggle to detach the skin from a bowl of rice pudding, The Dentists were veritable Schwarzeneggers. Their debut album from 1985, Some People Are On The Pitch, They Think It’s All Over, is fantastic powerhouse pop that was unlike anything else around at the time. If The Smiths had played Garage Punk they might have sounded a bit like this.

Back in the mid 80s, if you were a fully paid up anorak-wearing, bowl-cut-sporting Primal scream-adoring indie kid there was one subject that was completely off-limits – football. So while grown men happily admitted to possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of Rupert The Bear annuals, anyone au fait with say the Arsenal back four of the era was in serious danger of having their Tufty Club badge confiscated.

Not that The Dentists cared of course. Compared with most anaemic indie kids who would struggle to detach the skin from a bowl of rice pudding, physically and musically they were veritable Schwarzeneggers. They even named their debut album, Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It Is All Over, after the legendary 1966 World Cup winning commentary of Kenneth Wolstenholme.
Part of the legendary Medway scene which also delivered such PopJunkie faves as The Prisoners and The Milkshakes, The Dentists clearly loved The Smiths, but could thrash away like The Creation and were probably huge Billy Nicholls fans on the quiet too.

Some People is a wonderfully joyous adrenaline rush that  sounds as vital today as it did when it first hit the shelves back in 1985.
Opt for the newly reissued CD – the vinyl goes for around £30 – and you also get the Dentists legendary opening single Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden (and it is Wintertime). btw long titles was a Dentists trademark. Topped and tailed by an insistent psychedelic sounding guitar riff Strawberries builds beautifully before climaxing in a Who meets the Byrds full on psych freak out.
There are plenty of songs on Some People that run Strawberries close from I Had An Excellent Dream with its urgent drumming, repetitive guitar riff and two, or is it three, part harmonies through to gentler fare like the delicate Mary Won’t Come Out To Play.

Then there’s Tony Bastable V John Noakes, a mod-tastic northern soul influenced stomper that until my as not yet released gem, I Know a Singer In A Punk Band Who Shagged Valerie Singleton, makes it to the disc, is the best song ever to namecheck a Blue Peter presenter. Make Me Say It Somehow never fails to get my feet twitching either.
The Dentists went on to make some other corking records, especially the Peel favourite Writhing On The Shagpile, and the 1993 album Powdered Lobster Fiasco. Their wonderful debut, though, remains a great place to start.

Btw The Dentists, along with a whole slew of PopJunkie faves like The Hoodoo Gurus, The Barracudas and The Church are featured on the superb new four CD boxed set Children of Nuggets


2 Responses to “Trip to The Dentists”

  1. Nish Says:

    the Dentists were ace! i saw them with the Daggermen at the Cricketers in Kennington, i was thinking about it the other day when Freddy was hitting sixes over it, “thats where the Dentists and the Prisoners used to play”…loved the title “you and your bloody oranges” a line from “Billy Liar”..

  2. Chris Says:

    Came across the Dentists while at college in Medway. Lucky enough to have seen them three times. The last time at the Black Lion Sports Centre in Gillingham at a sort of dodgy medway band fest. Seem to remember that all those left at the end got up on the stage for the final jam of Strawberries are growing… Now if only they would release “Where’s My Chicken, You Bastard” on CD.

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