Edsel Auctioneer
Aidan Winterburn - Vocals, Guitar
Ashley Horner - Guitar, Vocals
Philip Pettler - Bass
Chris Cooper - Drums
Tris Williams - Drums, percussion
The Edsel Auctioneer burst out of Leeds in the late Eighties, sporting a fine set of noisy tunes reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr, at a time when this wasn't particularly fashionable. The Edsels shared a drummer (Chris Cooper) with fellow Leeds group the Pale Saints for the first two singles, whereafter he concentrated on the other outfit and was replaced by Tris Williams. Edsel guitarist Ashley Horner returned the favour by playing live with the Pale Saints until they recruited a permanent second guitarist. He didn't feature on their records though. A memorable live appearance on BBC 2's "Snub" music programme, plus some enthusiastic write-ups in the weekly music press helped to propel the group into the indie charts. Their debut single echoed the sound of the first Teenage Fanclub album, revealing shared influences I suppose. 'Strung' featured meandering lead guitar solos in the style of Neil Young, while the fuzzy guitar on 'Our New Skin' brought to mind J Mascis.
The 'Gutted' EP followed in 1990, released when the 'Madchester' scene was dominating the columns of the weekly music press. The music on the EP was quite contrary to the baggy-trousered groove then in vogue; 'Unbroken Line' raced along wildly, reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr circa the LP 'You're Living All Over Me' (especially the shouted bit a minute into the song). 'Necessary Disease' skimmed along nicely, with lyrics all about the problems of coping with "restlessness". 'Bed, Table, Chair' had a big, soaring sound with skyscraper guitars. Ending the EP was the ebullient fuzz blast of 'Stickleback', which was also issued as a limited 7". Both singles were compiled on the 'Voice of the Harolds' CD, which is highly recommended.
Edsel Auctioneer's debut album, 'Simmer', arrived at the end of 1992. A more polished sound saw the rough edges that had been so apparent on the first two singles smoothed away. While the production revealed a more melodic element to the group's songs, it didn't diminish the band's sonic power. The singles 'Undertow' and 'Starfish' still packed a mighty roar. In places, the combination of a good tune and noise brought comparisons to the Birdpoo ears at least with some of the more melodic post-Grunge bands. A change of texture was also provided by two tracks produced by Graeme Naysmith. Overall, this was a solid debut whose appeal grew with repeated airings.
Three years later, when, incidentally, I thought the group had split up, Edsel Auctioneer's second album appeared. 'The Good Time Music of' was perhaps a quieter affair than their previous releases, but still had its moments. The LP opened with 'Summer Hit', which started off pleasant and summery, then got noisier before it returned to the lead guitar's sunny melody. 'Stuntman' was a splendidly fast and noisy rampage that brought to mind their early material. Elsewhere, 'What's the Use?' was one of a couple of slower songs on the album to pack quite a powerful punch without resorting to outright noise. The LP's closing track, 'Just Can't Believe It' reminded me of the Boo Radleys, which was no bad thing. Incidentally, the instrumental track named '11th September 94' more than likely refers to Leeds beating Man Utd 2-1 on that day (a Sunday). The Leeds goals were apparently scored by Deane and Wetherall.
The group must have split up sometime after this. I believe that ex-members went on to form other projects afterwards. If anyone can provide more details on these, I'll add them.
Around 1998, Edsel bassist Phil Pettler joined former Pale Saints Chris Cooper (drums) and Graeme Naysmith (guitar) in Lorimer. Website: Over the next few years they released three singles of damn fine punk-pop, plus a session for John Peel at the end of 2000. They recently changed their name to The Detonators. Look them up.
UpdateDecember 2005. The Detonators now seem to be called The Terminals. There's a live review from October 2005 here. They also released a track in November 2005 on the Wrath Records Supersevens singles club.
Thanks to Ashley Horner for the publicity photos and the Peel session update, and Paul Schroeder for the Lorimer info.
Birdpoo's recommendation: Voice of the Harolds.
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