In the meantime, the four boys in Spearmint seem content that
they've finally got their message out to the masses via sporadic
airplay and a publication with dwindling circulation: "This song is
dedicated to some of the best bands in the country / Some of the
bands we never got to hear / Bands who never got any records out /
Never got played on the radio / Never got written about in the press
…" 'Sweeping the Nation' is a fabulous dance cruise through
invisibility and failure and other stories, with charming keyboard
crescendos and stirring harmonies to lift the I've-wasted-my-life
For all their tinny synth beats and moments of defiance,
Spearmint are comfortably bedsit-ish, with their Made in England
optimism about depression. On future single 'We're Going Out',
singer Shirley Lee speak-sings "I know nothing seems to excite you
anymore / I know it feels like you've got nothing to look forward to
/ But it's okay, everybody feels like that sometimes." And everybody
does. Spearmint used to perform this song on stage as a duet with
the female singer from Disco Pistol, who once upon a time were an
exciting, dressy guitar pop group with bouncy tunes to kill for.
They never did get around to sweeping the nation, but it would have
been cool if they had. Spearmint, on the other hand, haven't got the
energy to do it. The sudden blasts of pace subside pretty quickly
during the course of this album and are replaced by whimsical
wheedling and introspection. 'A Third of My Life' is so quiet, it's
easy to envision a grainy, lo-fi, Salako-like video to accompany the
But with its la-la-la-la fade-out and "take me home and fuck me"
(gently) pleading, 'A Third of My Life' is the most beautiful thing
about "A Week Away". Elsewhere Spearmint sound like the Lightening
Seeds with added dishwater, or the lovely Ooberman without the girl
backing vocals, and therefore not as cute. Hovering between death
and euphoria, Spearmint sing songs for the colour pale blue, careful
not to confuse their dreams with their actual likely career
trajectory. "The sampler is the biro of rock and roll, they say,"
quotes Shirley. Maybe it's time to start using a fountain pen.
by Laura Slattery.