Saturday, 30 January 2016

Oliver: Sofa Head - Mommy Hurt My Head (12 January 1992)

I've been flicking through Goodnight and Good Riddance lately, looking mainly at the entries from 1979, a particularly spectral year for music on the Peel Show and beyond according to David Cavanagh.  To read his account is to believe that the shows were awash with curdled and rancid punk and post punk tracks detailing abuse, violence, paranoia and mental disorientation.  When he was interviewed by Steve Lamacq on 6 Music while promoting the book, he highlighted the extraordinary Violence Grows by Fatal Microbes, a record which elevated the yobbish Oi! principle that we associate with punk in 1977 and which is labelled on all footage of the time to something closer to the colder impulses of A Clockwork Orange.  It's a record still relevant today, though the Fatal Microbes couldn't have predicted that people getting kicked to death in subways (or Subways for that matter) would be having it filmed on mobiles today.  Cavanagh also cites tracks from The Poison Girls' 12" EP, Hex, whose lead vocalist was the mother of the guitarist and drummer of Fatal Microbes for further evidence of 1979 as a year in which the sound pictures evoke images of women and children, huddled in a corner, burying their heads in the crook of their arms so that no one sees the bruises.  They are tracks and images which all too easily evoke that Winter of Discontent feel.

I thought of these records and Cavanagh's words when listening to Sofa Head's Mommy Hurt My Head, an early 90s update of these concerns, which could easily have fitted into a Peel playlist from 1979-80.  Over a skittering drum beat and rumbling bass and guitar lines, vocalist Claire Sykes reels off a list of abusive acts perpetrated by a mother to her child, coming back each time to the heartfelt refrain of "What'd I do wrong? Please tell me" before chillingly going on to confide in the final verse that if this is how mothers treat their daughters, she will do exactly the same when she has her own, thereby proving Fatal Microbes' theory to the max.

A true one off.

Videos courtesy of HenryMitDemSpaten (Sofa Head) and WallakAt (Fatal Microbes)

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