* Originally published in December 2017 on julianconorreid.com, this article was revised and expanded for publication by Getintothis in March 2020.
Gluebound (Spencer, Nick, Ian and Matt) were signed to EMI and released a double A-side single ‘Vent/Autist’ (1994) and the ‘2% Percent Instinct EP’ (1995). The band rehearsed at the Ministry on Preston Street along with their friends and label-mates Cecil. Their track ‘Gullible’s Travels’ is a compelling rock song reminiscent of Morrissey’s later work. Sample lyrics: ‘Losers feel aloof…What comes next is the stuff of dreams, and the other night I dreamed of crimes…’ It has no chorus as such, but builds to an urgent climax with Spencer singing: ‘Take Aim, Take Aim, Take Aim, Take Aim… Together whatever is the way that I see it’. It is an unusual song. It is a powerful song.
From the same EP, the song ‘Appetite’ opens with the line ‘I’m the brain damaged brother that you never knew, I carry a picture, a picture of you…’ My memory might deceive me, but I think that Spencer told me during a recording session this was a reference to something that Hunter S Thompson had written.
The band had recorded their debut album with Barrett Jones (Foo Fighters) in Seattle. Unhappy with some of the tracks they had chosen to do some additional work with Lance Thomas at The Liverpool Music. They had recorded a version of The Supreme’s ‘Where did Our Love Go?’ for an EMI Anniversary Compilation. Impressed by Lance’s work, they decided to record several new tracks as well as remixing some older ones. I worked on that debut album as a tape operator and remember a kind, thoughtful and intelligent group of young men. The singer Spencer made particularly strong impression on my teenage self: he was articulate and charismatic with a strong sense of social justice, years before the term ‘social justice’ had been corrupted.
Despite the investment from EMI, Gluebound’s debut album, like so many other major label releases from that time was never released. One of my favourite songs was called ‘Gracenotes’, the closest Gluebound came to producing commercial pop grunge. The undisputed highlight of the unreleased album was a track called ‘Urgen C’, an ethereal ballad not dissimilar to ‘Street Spirit’ by Radiohead but using major chords with a sweetness akin to ‘Stephanie Says’ by The Velvet Underground. I played that song repeatedly when I was a teenager.
The band are remembered fondly by fans who saw them tour with Mansun in the mid-90’s. In an article in The Independent in 1996, Gluebound were Mansun frontman Paul Draper’s ‘tip for the top’. In Draper’s words: ‘They’re really sensational, a bit like REM.’
* Originally published in December 2017 on julianconorreid.com, this article was revised and expanded for publication by Getintothis in February 2020.