Voices and strings don’t always need to combine angelically. Scowling up at McAlmont and Montgomery is Luke Haines, his voice, general demeanour and attitude a permanent scar on the rosy-cheeked face of britpop.
1994: while Pulp were breaking into the top 40 with Do You Remember the First Time, The Auteurs were stalled just outside, with Chinese Bakery only reaching number 42. Back in November Lenny Valentino had only managed one place higher; its mid-week chart placing was 35, but it just couldn’t hold on.
Haines returned to the studio with producer Phil Vinall to finish the mixes for what The Auteurs’ second album Now I’m a Cowboy. Hating pretty much everything about the initial recordings, the pair set to work. Haines describes their restoration job on Underground Movies in Bad Vibes, the first part of his music memoirs:
Underground Movies, one of the album’s best tracks, is rescued by ditching everything previously recorded, sending it all into reverse echo and adding more spooky vibraphone.
The result is a suffocating sound, Haines biting as ever, James Banbury’s Cello along for the mournful ride, right up to the last, surprisingly sweet and airy bar.