When a group of musicians turns up to EMI studios only to get mistaken for air conditioning engineers it’s not usually a terribly good sign. Unsurprisingly, Norfolk’s The Farmer’s Boys made just two albums and reached their peak in 1984 when ‘In The Country’ reached no. 44 in the UK chart. A shame, because although the recording techniques and checked shirts haven’t aged so well, this music would have provided good company for bands on the Postcard label at the time.
From the lilting romantic vocals to the jangly guitars, ‘Matter Of Fact’, ‘Woke Up This Morning’ and ‘Probably One Of The Best Investments I Ever Made’ are pure Orange Juice. Admittedly though, their music hasn’t dated quite so well thanks largely to a dated drum machine sound. There are few songs that sound quite so early 1980’s as ‘Soft Drink’, which manages to combine slap bass, synths and some frightening falsetto vocals; it’s hard to tell whether it’s a parody yet the band still made a decent song from such unpromising sources.
Surprisingly, many of The Farmer’s Boys’ most enduring songs lie towards the end of the record. ‘A Promise You Can’t Keep’ is a hand-wringing lament of no little power whilst ‘Torn In Two’ is as lovely and wistful as China Crisis. Top marks too for ‘Who Needs It’ where a yearning chorus snuggles up to some white funk. There’s nothing quite so charming amongst the extra tracks, however, which are likely to appeal to completists only.
By no means a classic, ‘Get Out & Walk’ is well worth investigating for anyone with an interest in English white soul and jangly indie romantics. The production might well have dated but their melodic gifts shine through most of the time.