#37: The Pastels – Truck Train Tractor (1986)
Don’t tell Mrs LGM, but I think I have a slight, weird crush on Stephen Pastel. I love his effete, down to earth nonchalance, the air of chaos that permeates his band’s records, my suspicions that – in the most affectionate way possible – he still thinks it’s 1986, and fey, jangly guitar bands divorced from scene and fickle vogue are the only way forward. The other day (I was horrendously hungover; emergency vinyl required) I staggered into the record shop The Pastels are famously partners in – I know, a favourite band, and they have their own record store in the city I live in; I regularly have to avoid that side of Glasgow, as I know how much of my overdraft will not return home with me. Stephen happened to be manning the cash register on this particular occasion, and as I handed over my purchase, chatting briefly about forthcoming releases, he wielded the bar-code scanner as if it was some complex device from a far-off, alien future. Not only could he not get it to work, but subsequently endured severe difficulties slipping the LP into its shiny yellow plastic bag.
Okay, not the most outré music-related anecdote, but it does help to illustrate why I find this band so uplifting – the joyous, almost clumsy disorganization. The laconic innocence. Ambivalence of musical fashion. The damn fine tunes. Never especially prolific, never overtly bothered by the trinkets of fame, there’s been a succession of members and collaborators over the years, but they’ve never lost that allure, even thirty years after their début single – the new album should hopefully appear later this year.
Was a struggle selecting a record to appear below the words. If I were writing this tomorrow it would have been the seductive drone-pop of ‘Baby Honey’, or ‘Nothing To Be Done, the opening track of 1989 album Sittin’ Pretty, all shrugged shoulders and a wicked gleam to the eye. As it is, you get 1986 single ‘Truck, Train, Tractor’. Because it’s a mischievous collage of sound that can’t fail to smear a smile all over your chops.
The Pastels / Truck Train Tractor