Thursday, 4 May 2017
Oliver!: Leatherface - Peasant in Paradise [Peel Session] (14 March 1992)
On the recording that I heard for the 14/3/92 show, there was only space for one track from this session. Peasant in Paradise, which is the final track on this video of the complete session, was played first as part of the repeat airing that it received this evening. (On the video, Peasant in Paradise starts at 9:17).
Peasant in Paradise initially won me over because of its energy - so far so cliched, but further listens and to the rest of the session brought out greater depths to the material than might otherwise be expected from a band named after the iconic killer in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.
Leatherface rock as hard as Therapy? indeed lead singer, Frankie Stubbs sounds like Andy Cairns's older, wiser brother. But whereas Therapy? dealt in dread and confusion, Leatherface manage to mine a richer seam of regret, contemplation, and loss with a piledriving force that allows it to escape guitar-wank self-wallowing. If there is such a sub-genre as reflective punk rock (and The Buzzcocks seem a good starting point for that), then Leatherface took it on a notch for rough, rugged types with hurt feelings and clear heads.
Peasant in Paradise looks back at a better time in the protagonist's life - an unexpected summer, which was over before they knew it to be replaced by a bleak winter. That sense of touching elusive happiness, something so transient before it starts "pissing down with snow". Also recommended is the third track on the video, Dreaming, which deals with the fallout when a casual, easy relationship suddenly brings on unforeseen and unlooked for responsibility.
Video courtesy of vibracobra23