Review: Adorable – Footnotes 92-94

Ideally, we would all like to discover bands before they become recognised so we get that rather tenuous sense of pride and ownership when they do become “known”. Sadly, I missed out on the wonders of Adorable whilst at University and it’s only through a fellow music writer that I got to hear their albums a few years ago. By a strange coincidence I received an E-mail from Kevin Gritton, former drummer in the band, who made some nice comments about the original Leonard’s Lair site and mentioned that he was also the brother of Martin Gritton, a former footballer at Lincoln City who I had sponsored several years ago. Adorable were signed to Creation Records in 1992 by Alan McGee and dropped a couple of years later. A shame, because they were often brilliant as this overdue compilation testifies.

Granted, much of ‘Footnotes’ sounds very much of the time but you can see why McGee liked what he heard. Singles ‘Glorious’ and ‘Sushine Smile’ are the kind of big, brash numbers he has always championed; these songs featured shoegazing guitars but frontman Pete Fijakowski’s distinctive vocals and the fast rhythm section added an aggressive edge which gave them their unique qualities. ‘Sistine Chapel Ceiling’ swings like early Charlatans but ‘Sunburst’ (credited as one of their earliest tracks) evokes disturbing images of the baggy scene. They arguably had an impact on the future as well, Feeder’s entire career seems to be based on ‘Homeboy’ and did Supergrass hear the guitar parts of ‘Favourite Fallen Idol’ before recording ‘Richard III’?.

If ‘Feed Me’ and ‘Crash Site’ (brilliantly) represent the angrier and grungier side to Adorable then ‘A To Fade In’ reveals the more introspective qualities of the group; not bad for a record intended as a B-side and a homage to The Go Betweens. Elsewhere, intricate fare such as ‘Lettergo’ and the Smiths-inspired ‘Man In A Suitcase’ deserve to be hailed as lost treasures of the era.

Listening to these songs is still quite a thrill. Adorable packed their records with an admirable energy and tension, offset by moments of elegiac beauty and their short career featured even more great songs that were not included here. It is never a good time to be dropped from a record label (although, as the band’s sleevenotes state, not face to face by McGee as he had promised) but at the cusp of Britpop, Adorable can consider themselves rather unlucky not to be as revered as they should be.

Web Sites:
Adorable MySpace
Adorable Fan Site

Further Listening:
Chicane, The Auteurs

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