I bought this record in a charity shop because I liked the cover. I don’t think I have ever seen a Slingbacks record anywhere but a charity shop.
I’m happy I found it, because it’s a record I still come back to a lot. It’s from 1996 but is oddly ageless, because the sound is pure 70s rock-pop and the lyrics focus on a special type of nostalgia, referencing the Beatles, the Partridge Family, ‘darling Burroughs’ and the Rolling Stones.
It’s an album that should be the soundtrack to a movie of a hazy long-ago summer, a summer that changed your life and you will always look back on as one of the golden times. Maybe, in my case, the summer you turned 16 and suddenly got hot and the boy you’d been in love with for as long as you can remember finally saw sense and wanted you to be his proper girlfriend. That summer when you wore flares and flimsy vests and had your bellybutton pierced. Maybe a summer that ended in heartbreak.
Starting with No Way Down about discovering the power of rock n roll – ‘she wore glitter and a fringe and lace-up boots/I wanna be like her when I grow up – even though she isn’t in the Beatles!’ as ‘we were sparkling from the chemicals’, then through love and fun and finally loss as autumn comes (‘I remember you and me in that autumn teen sound/Kiss me once before our summer fades…’).
So many of the retrospectively knowing lyrics still remind me of that same boy, and maybe all cool boys that age: the ultimate all pop no star, boys in bands who you presume are way deeper than they actually are. ‘Suburbs sleeping, caught in your daydream/What a nightmare, you are just eighteen… Sometimes I hate you, but you’re the only one who understands – I’ll think it over until I come around’.
All the way through to the final acoustic weepy, Stupid Boyfriend (‘please don’t let me be with a restless boyfriend’). My cousin Niki and I would sing along in my bedroom, earnestly.
This record is a classic to, I think, pretty much nobody but me. But, if you are so inclined, I really recommend putting it on, maybe putting on your old suede miniskirt and ringer T-shirt with Adidas Gazelles, and reliving a time that we never really had. Go through it to the end, remember all those long sunny days when it was always hot, and in the end be reminded ‘how yellow and red autumn really is’.