Sep 04


FT + New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 275 views


If I was the sort of person who posted to ILM here is a thread I would post: “Things you knew would be ‘cult bands/albums/records’ the moment you heard them”. The clumsy phrasing of that suggests that I have ‘lost it’ when it comes to creating threads, but still it’s a curious sensation, that simultaneous knowledge that i) this is going to flop badly, ii) but some people will really like it and iii) those people are likely to have the verbals necessary to turn it into some kind of legend, whenever down the line.

One such record is Waiting Rooms by Simon Warner. The first time I heard it I hated it, the second time I decided it was touched with some sort of crazed brilliance. It is very hard to think of a record as downright fruity as this one – a suite of songs about the everyday pleasures of the manic upswing, lavishly (and I mean lavishly) arranged, sung in a throaty roar that makes you think Cope, Walker, Newley. Yes, it’s all *terribly* English. I’m also reminded occasionally of how Eno would write lyrics because they were fun to sing and had the right kind of noises in, when I hear Warner singing lines like “the old girl’s choosy vowels / made me whoop and howl”

(I love that “choosy vowels”, by the way. Keep an eye out, I’ll nick it for Popular sometime.)

There’s a dogged undertow of Britpop which might put you off but I think grounds Warner’s fantasias nicely – gives the cake a base, even if it’s 90% icing. The record was too ridiculous to sell well, and the one single from it – “Wake Up The Streets” – absolutely vanished. Here is it in its radio edit form. It will keep you going until someone more articulate and influential than I forces a reissue in fifteen years’ time.


  1. 1
    Pete on 1 Jun 2014 #

    I’m not sure if anyone will see this, but there is a new Simon Warner fan page on Facebook. The address is https://www.facebook.com/simonwarnerfans
    If you’re a SW fan, please feel free to join and share news, stories, pictures, etc…
    We’re hoping that Mr. Warner will come out retirement at some point, and finish off the 2nd and 3rd albums.

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