Thursday, July 14, 2005

Something for that aching tooth

Yesterday my dentist informed me that I have four cavities. Groan. Of course, it's entirely my fault for avoiding the place for three+ years. But because I'm all about turning frowns upside down, I'll take this opportunity to share The Dentists.

These days, you're most likely to come across their name on an influence list of some jangly garage band. (For example, I bet this week's No Hits band Telepathic Butterflies, not to mention the entire Rainbow Quartz roster, loves em.) Anchored by singer/guitarist Mick Murphy and guitarist Bob Collins, the four-piece band originated in rural Kent in England in1983. Over the course of 12 years they released a number of LPs and EPs, receiving scant commercial success for their efforts. I've seen them described as one of the earliest Britpop bands, which seems to be stretching it considering The Dentists were winding down just as their more explicitly anglocentric brethren were warming up.

And there's very little forward-looking about The Dentists. Most of their songs could pass as a cut from a lost Merseybeat compilation. In keeping with their chosen genre, the lyrics are whimsical and sung with well-executed harmonies and lots of sincere la la las. This seeming lack of ambition suits the band just fine because what they do they do very well. In the vast pool of 60s pop imitators, The Dentists swim laps around most everyone else. In fact, I'd say their only real competitors from this era are The Las. While Lee Mavers and the boys were perhaps a tad edgier lyrically, the sound's very similar.

Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden is one of the prettiest pop songs you’ll ever hear. Sweet and softly swirling with just a little crunch for character.

Strawberries Are Growing In My GardenThe Dentists

I Had An Excellent DreamThe Dentists

I Can See Your House From Up HereThe Dentists

All from
Dressed, a 22-track collection of early singles and EPs which you should be able to find used.


Anonymous limonada said...

i love these-- thanks!

9:35 PM  
Blogger teach said...

You are a musical genius! But seriously, how have you found/discovered/whatever some of this music. Strawberries is great song, a great pop song as you said. Can you see their influence on some modern britpop? Or do you think they were influenced by others, more...mainstream...that are now being touted as the "reason I wanted to play music" for some of the newer bands.
Do you ever listen to some of the young, modern bands when they discuss influence? Sometimes, it seems as if they are picking the obvious or the obscure, but for the same reason, to gain credibility.
Great songs, thanks!

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the original of "Strawberries"! I've only ever heard Lida Husik's cover. -- jonhope

8:43 AM  

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