Orange Juice - Four albums reissued on Domino
- Malcolm Jack
- 16 January 2014
You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, Rip It Up, The Glasgow School and The Orange Juice
It must have been difficult to appreciate their importance as Orange Juice struggled to produce an album – in four attempts between 1982 and 1984, all of them freshly reissued on vinyl by Domino – that lived up to the near miraculous brilliance of their ramshackle earlier Postcard Records singles. But today’s indie landscape would look very different had these Bearsden boy wonders never mixed Chic guitars with Velvet Underground-style proto-rock’n’roll. No Edwyn Collins – who fearlessly flaunted his fey disregard for the stunted piggishness of first-wave punk in wry fabulousness of lyricism and voice – would arguably have equalled no Smiths, no Pulp, no Belle and Sebastian, no Franz Ferdinand and – well, let the dominoes fall.
Their 1982 debut You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever is as close as Orange Juice came to a perfect album, and it’s a generous soul who says quality didn’t largely diminish from there, as production and playing improved in inverse proportion to ideas, and the original line-up gradually fell away to leave Collins the sole survivor on their (underrated) 1984 swansong The Orange Juice. You’d take the charmingly shaky Postcard-period version of ‘Louise Louise’, from 2005’s outstanding The Glasgow School early rarities compilation, over the polished repurposing on 1982’s Rip It Up any day.
Paucity of chart success would hasten the band’s eventual demise, and – much as ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ and ‘Lean Period’ sound like sure things 30-plus years later – right enough there’s only one top 40 hit across the four records. But what a hit. ‘Rip It Up’ – number 8 in March 1983 – may be post-punk’s high-water mark: a veritable manifesto for the idea that erudite mischievousness, sonic sophistication and irresistible danceability need be no strangers in pop, as driven home by the chewy funk bassline of a Roland TB-303, which made it the first hit to deploy the synthesiser that would later define acid house. We’re not about to claim they invented acid house too, but clock up another footnote to the genius of Orange Juice.