Davy Henderson - three albums that bridge the pop/art matrix
- Neil Cooper
- 7 September 2010
The Sexual Objects - Cucumber, The Nectarine No. 9 - Saint Jack, Win - Freaky Trigger
The Sexual Objects - Cucumber
(Aktion und Spass)
The Nectarine No. 9 - Saint Jack
(We Can Still Picnic)
Win - Freaky Trigger
From Fire Engines onwards, Davy Henderson has bridged the pop/art matrix with singularly maverick aplomb. The brief mid-noughties reformation of Edinburgh’s spikiest combo from the Fast Product/Postcard era was just an interlude, however, to show the new wave of post-punkers how it was done before the real work began with The Sexual Objects. The arrival of the SOBs debut just as other blasts from Henderson’s past are reissued makes for a startling body of work that runs from pop euphoria to strung-out velveteen come-downs and back again.
Win were post Fire Engines high-concept major label entryism par excellence, and 1989 second album swan-song Freaky Trigger was a big shiny confection of over-produced sugar-rushing glory peppered with a knowing Prince-inspired groove, gospel backing vocals and shiny synths. If archly titled epics like ‘What’s Love If You Can Kill For Chocolate’ should’ve been huge, future portents lie among the bonus B-sides, a studio-bound grab-bag of club-land cut-ups and stripped-down guitar shuffles. There’s even a cover of the theme to Deep Throat.
After Win crashed and burned, Henderson got back to basics with The Nectarine No 9 on the briefly re-ignited Postcard label. With a three-guitar line-up, if the lo-fi hip-hop of 1992 debut A Sea With Three Stars came out fighting, the download-only reissue of 1995 follow-up Saint Jack sounds like a dark-hearted but no less urgent noir, full of left-field garage band wig-outs and bittersweet laments for what the big bad world can do on a fragile, gorgeous and grown-up affair.
Four more Nectos albums and fifteen years later, and with a name tailor-made for NSFW Google searches, things seem to have got brighter. The SOBs 21st-century glam-boogie-doo-wop drawl on Cucumber mixes Bolan, Beefheart, Prince and Todd Rundgren to sound looser, loucher, lower-slung and more lip-smackingly lascivious than ever. Full penetration and pure genius, then, from the most important band alive.