Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Oliver: The Satyrs - Shooting Air (29 December 1991)
Apart from Bryan Adams, the singles chart in 1991 was dominated, to great and ghastly effect by sex, sex, and more sex. I was 15 in 1991, in the full throes of a puberty that seemingly hasn't left me alone in the intervening 24 years, and even at the time I thought it was all a bit excessive. Was everyone so numbed by the onslaught of that bloody Robin Hood song that they couldn't be bothered to get out of bed? In retrospect, I was probably jealous and definitely clueless. I could talk about sex, without really having a clue about what I was talking about. I definitely wasn't still having sex and as we have already established my motives towards someone that I fancied did not include trying to sex them up.
Without getting too anecdotal, what I was missing in 1991 from all this musical lust was a track which reflected what little sexual experience I was having behind my bedroom door when my parents were out. In Peel's words, "a classic pop single, grievously overlooked" which just happened to be about masturbation.
Shooting Air was the only release from the three-piece, Satyrs, and it tells you everything you need to know about the state of the charts in 1991 that this piece of three minute brilliance wasn't a hit. Cracking one off (no pun intended) from a guitar riff that informs anyone passing that this is a tune that is going to piggy back its way straight to your ear-heart. The sheer sense of joy inherent in that feeling of anticipation when you're on a promise leaps and bubbles over every section of this track. "God knows, I know what to do. Long as you do, I'm never ever shooting air." Quite literally, a coming of age song.
Joy. Anticipation. Leaps. No, I'm not going all Nigella Lawson on you and trying to make individual words seem seductive on their own, but instead reflecting on how in direct comparison to many of the other tracks selected from this show, Shooting Air is a slice of gorgeous loveliness that you want to take to bed in comparison to the anguished, tortured, angry tracks that followed it. Life and love should always be this blissful, so wonderfully pre-coital. By never releasing another record, The Satyrs ensured that they would always be preserved in that moment of anticipation. Disappointment and let down would never intrude on their worldview. The only disappointment was that the mainstream/alternative divide that was still alive and well in 1991 meant that The Satyrs got to soundtrack the carnal thrills of Peel's army of virgins, instead of that of the masses at large, who had to make do with Divinyls inferior, I Touch Myself. A state of affairs so retrospectively maddening, I need to have a wank to calm down over the injustice of it.
Video courtesy of Patrick Pierson.