As main songwriter and singer of mid-80s English pop legends the June Brides, Phil Wilson’s influence looms large over nearly all UK guitar pop since. A bridge between early 80s groups like Josef K and the later Creation scene, Phil and the June Brides kept the flame burning for earnest, tuneful pop underpinned by fiercely strummed, jangly guitars. Though their career was a brief three years, their achievements are notable: all four of their singles and their sole LP topped the UK indie charts, they recorded several BBC sessions, including one for John Peel, and they toured with such heavyweights as The Smiths, Go-Betweens, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Mekons, Alternative TV, The Television Personalities and The Wedding Present.
Following the dissolution of the June Brides, Phil released a handful of solo singles on Creation and Caff, then, soured on the music business, he retired. His legend has only grown though, with bands as diverse as the Manic Street Preachers, Belle and Sebastian, The Aislers Set and Franz Ferdinand citing Phil and the Brides as important influences. And now the silence is broken, and Slumberland is quite pleased to bring you Phil’s Industrial Strengthdouble 7″ EP.
As a path to getting back into songwriting, Phil has decided to learn other people’s songs, “pulling them apart, seeing how they worked and putting them back together in the wrong order.” Industrial Strength is the first fruit of those experiments. Recording at home, totally solo, using acoustic guitars, mandolin and banjo, Phil has re-worked four songs from Throbbing Gristle, Kraftwerk, Faust and contemporary German band S/T.
While guitar folk/pop and experimental rock might not seem like the most obvious combination, Phil has dug deep to expose the melodic roots of these songs. The layered acoustic instruments and skeletal programmed beats lay down a mesmerizing drone-folk groove, and the result is a wonderful, hypnotic record that reveals fresh nuances on each listen. It’s a very auspicious new beginning for Mr. Wilson that points to more fascinating music yet to come.
Tracklist: Neon Lights / United / It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl / What Happens… Happens
Slumberland Records SLR78