Saturday, 9 March 2013

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Of all the West Yorkshire bands (the March Violets, The 3 Johns, Salvation etc) lumped in with the Sisters by lazy journalists in the early 80’s, none enjoyed greater success on their own terms than Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. OK, almost all their early releases had black sleeves with no band photo or details, they had a drum machine, and Chris Reed had a deep voice, but the differences between the bands were greater than their similarities. RLYL took their influences from the arty new wave bands from the original punk scene, such as Wire and The Stranglers, and Reed’s near-spoken vocals mixed low in the mix, with bass-driven melodies and powerful guitar chords to the fore, were reminiscent of those bands. A tight unit live, their gigs were more about honest toil and an outlet for angst than the more celebratory affairs The Sisters’ fans enjoyed, and although many Sisters fans also got into the Lorries, the impression was always of a band who were making it on their own terms rather than needing any patronage from any scene leaders. Never going fully down the goth root fashion-wise, the band remained on the fringes of the nascent scene, and being based on York label Red Rhino, they didn't hang out the same Leeds dives (Fav, Phono, Warehouse etc)as the afore-mentioned bands, but having said that their more anonymous appearance (no beards, hats or unfashionably fashionable long hair) would have allowed them to blend in if they did. Although peaking roughly around the same time as Eldritch’s crew in the mid-80s with their albums Talk About the Weather and Paint Your Wagon, RLYL arguably moved even further away from their darkwave roots than even the Sisters by the early 90s, although more recent live shows have seen them back to their 80’s best. Time for a RLYL revival ?