Winter 1985-86 – Foel Studio, Powys, Wales. RETURN OF THE RANTERS
- SIANNE, DON’T WORK IN A FACTORY
- THE HISTORY OF COAL
- SLUMS STILL STAND
- THE SEARCH FOR UM GRIS
- SLEIBHTE MACALLA
- BATTLE OF STONEHENGE
- PITON DE LA FRONAISE
- THE MOULDWARP’S JOURNEY
Guy Smith, Simon Marchant, Alun ‘Wilf’ Williams, Noel Blanden, Jimmy Miller
Returning to Wales and now with children in tow, the collective embark on what is probably their finest work so far.
Two sessions lasting around a month in total – much again taken from improvisations encouraged by engineer Brian Snelling. A real product of the times – Thatcher, the miners’ strike – the battle for Stonehenge (as witnessed first hand by Guy and Wilf) all contribute to a powerful and emotive recording… The album opens amidst vast clouds of atmosphere before the tape looped violin of ‘Sianne Don’t Work In A Factory’ starts to drag the song out of itself and into a sparse yet tender love song, full of hope, exalted synths and mechanised drum patterns. Acoustic guitars and walls of keyboard drone provide a fitting acre of space for the raw polemics of ‘Slums Still Stand’, whilst ‘The Search For Um Gris’ follows in full head-down, motorik mode with a miraculously hypnotic drum beat and whirling mood. “What’s the colour of your heart?” sings Guy as the song spools out and grows onwards into the distance. ‘Battle Of Stonehenge’ is a powerful and emotive recording detailing the band’s personal experience of the aforementioned Police ransack of the Peace Convoy from the same year, and as a result provides the rallying point of album. Beginning bravely as a solitary spun-out voice, the song eventually becomes awash with choruses of guitar and reverberating synth, joined finally by adornments of violin and an entrancingly agile beat. ‘Mouldwarp’s Journey’ concludes the album with 10 minutes of epic improv, drawing on field recordings, murmured vocals, slowly-phasing tonal clusters, a miasma of percussion and wordless rapture.
The recording, now titled ‘Return of The Ranters’ is not released as with Guy, Jimmy and Wilf living in squatting communities in South London, and Simon and Noel re-locating their families to rural Kent – the Family Hawaii splinters…
Guy and partner Viv take to the road in an old Bedford bus with their children Sianne and Daisy, busking, playing mainly folk music and learning to juggle and performing street shows throughout Europe and Japan… Jimmy moves to Scotland fly posting…
Simon plays in bands Jacobs Ladder and Zinta and the Zoots, Jimmy writing tunes aplenty, Guy relocating with family to Wales living the good life… Wilf also leaves London with his family…
A new Century dawns, original Hawaiians Nick Rose and Jim Lusted die and are mourned……