Post-Rocktoberfest: Insides (and Earwig)

October 19, 2009 at 9:00 am 2 comments

Insides was the Brighton-based duo of J.Serge Tardo and Kirsty Yates. Tardo and Yates started releasing music together in the very early ’90s as two-thirds of the band Earwig, alongside Dimitri Voulis.

Earwig - Hardly

Earwig - Hardly

Earwig’s first E.P. – Hardly – displays a distinct post-punk influence with Tardo’s scratchy guitar and Yates’ strident vocals layered atop some rather fussy drum machine beats. Melodically, the influence of the Smiths is also felt heavily throughout.

What really sets apart songs like “Blind, Stupid and Desperate” and “It’s the Waiting I Can’t Stand” is the lyric writing of Kirsty Yates. From the get-go, she had an incredible talent for arranging apparently mundane phrases into stanzas of chilling malice and almost embarrassing intimacy.

You can download the whole thing from The Blackened Air.

Earwig - Under My Skin I am Laughing

Earwig - Under My Skin I am Laughing

By 1992, when Earwig released its one-and-only full length LP – Under My Skin I am Laughing – the Insides sound was pretty much in place. The electronics had become more pronounced (but sparser) and the guitars more ornate.

Once again, though, it was Yates who made the real difference. She’d started to slur and lisp her way through the songs. The malice was greater but it was also more insidious – wrapped in a soft, warm blanket of sensuality.

The epic single “Every Day Shines” is as hypnotic as anything Insides released, while “We Could Be Sisters” sounds like The Durutti Column’s evil twin.

Again, you can download it all from The Blackened Air.

Insides - Euphoria

Insides - Euphoria

The following year, the debut Insides album Euphoria was released on 4AD subsidiary Guernica. Voulis had left the band and the sound developed on Under My Skin had been perfected.

Euphoria is, without a doubt, Tardo and Yates’ masterpiece. It opens with the almost straightforwardly sexy “Walking in Straight Lines” lines but as the album progresses, it gets ever darker – as if the characters described in the songs are sinking deeper and deeper into viciously dysfunctional relationships.

Pretty much every song on this album is gold but “Relentless” ranks as a mid-point highlight. You are strongly urged to seek out a hard copy of Euphoria. Everybody should have one.

Insides - Clearskin

Insides - Clearskin

The year after that, Insides released an instrumental E.P. called Clearskin. Its one track – “In Search of Spaces” – brings in a noticeable Steve Reich influence. In and of itself, Clearskin is great and really quite ambitious. But coming right after the emotionally intense Euphoria, it seemed like a bit of a cop out.

Guess what? You can decide for yourself after you download the whole thing from The Blackened Air.

Insides - Sweet Tip

Insides - Sweet Tip

After Clearskin, Insides did what all the great post-rock bands were doing at that time: they disappeared. Rather astonishingly though, they actually released a second full-length album in 2000. The ’90s may have been over by this point but you wouldn’t guess it listening to the inoffensively jazzy trip-hop of Sweet Tip.

The album has a few great tracks – notably “All Life Long” and “Nothing Could be Sweeter” – but it utterly lacks the highly individual musical inventiveness and sly lyrical intensity that made Euphoria a classic.

Yet again, you can judge for yourself by downloading the whole thing from The Blackened Air.

Entry filed under: MP3s, post-rock, Post-Rocktoberfest 2009, UK post-rock. Tags: , , , .

Post-Rocktoberfest: UK Post-Rock Volume Five Post-Rocktoberfest: Papa Sprain Live at The Marquee (1991)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard Grant  |  October 31, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    damn, never heard the early ep’s before. would really like to hear the others now, had a quick look on the blogosphere and nothing much about, plus the ‘past’ cd is going for $60 on gemm. now someone out there must have a copy….

  • 2. Biggie Samuels  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I would suggest dropping a comment on The Blackened Air, asking for more.


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