Seven and twelve inch singles released by James’ new record label Sire ahead of the album Stutter.
7″ JIM3 – Chain Mail / Hup-Springs
12″ JIM3T – Chain Mail / Uprising / Hup-Springs
|Release Name:||Chain Mail aka Sit Down EP|
|Release Date:||March 1986|
|Catalogue:||7": JIM 3, 928 763-7; 12": JIM 3T, 920434-0|
Signing to Sire in the winter of 1985, the band went into Liverpool’s Amazon Studios to record their debut album Stutter. The first fruits of the sessions were the Chain Mail single release, rush-released by Sire to capitalise on the buzz around James. The release came in two formats – a seven-inch featuring lead track Chain Mail and Hup-Springs and a twelve-inch featuring an additional track Uprising. Confusingly the twelve-inch was called ‘Sit Down Three Songs By James’. Despite it’s confusing alias, Sit Down the song, was still two and a half years from being written.
Sire were unimpressed by the single seeing it as “too English” and not radio-friendly enough to make a significant impression on the charts. A precursor to what would happen throughout the Sire relationship, there was very little promotion of the single. The press adverts were bizarre as they carried disparaging comments about the band from previous reviews as a unique advertising technique.
Aside from John Peel, Radio 1 ignored the single and sales were disappointing. The press remained loyal to the band though, seeing James as the natural successors to The Smiths who were heading towards dissolution.
Artwork was yet again provided by John Carroll with the 7 and 12 inch formats having unique artwork which adds to their rarity value.
Cue woolly jumpers, cue real instruments, cue singer Tim mounting the vocal scales with frightening tunefulness. James’ established fans will love it. Newcomers will probably be bemused at what all the fuss is about – but give it three listens and the Mancunian foursome’s charms will begin to be revealed. The whimsy of a nursery rhyme, the bite of the most gruesome of fairy tales. This isn’t a single to make James lots of money, but it should make them a few more friends.
Typical rolling modernism from Manchester’s strangest sons. Produced by Lenny Kaye (and it shows), Chain Mail taunts the listener as it trips through a full range of emotions. Cooky.
The rustics who brought a racy edge and tumbling verve to their curious world on Hymn From A Village don’t do much to suggest the excitement and fascination of that record here. This is cold, turgid and morose, cloistered in defiantly English whimsy – from the clip-clop primary school coconut shell sound effects that open to the clangourous Pete Hamill chorus that rises and groans throughout. I’m not sure what it’s about – though I’d take a guess at strained misery being spiced by transcendent longing, but, more pertinently, I don’t get the feeling I’d care anyway.
- Chain Mail :1986
- Hup-Springs (a.k.a. Sandman) :1986
- Uprising :1986
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