Post-Rocktoberfest: Spoonfed Hybrid – Spoonfed Hybrid (Guernica) LP
In 1993, Ian Masters left Pale Saints, the Leeds-based, 4AD-signed band he had led since 1987, apparently to pursue a more left-field musical direction. It’s also tempting to suspect that the rest of the Pale Saints had grown tired of Masters’ antics – which included peppering interviews with ludicrous fibs and disrupting the nice pop songs his band-mates were trying to write by transposing the tunes into weird time signatures.
Whatever the case, Masters’ next move was to team up with Chris Trout of the suitably eccentric A.C. Temple, forming Spoonfed Hybrid. The duo released just one full-length album, on 4AD’s post-rock-centric subsidiary Guernica (plus a couple of 7″ singles).
The music on this self-titled album is more serene than Pale Saints’ angst-ridden shoegaze rock. It falls squarely into the “new age post-punk” sound pioneered by The Durutti Column and developed by 4AD bands like Dif Juz. Fans of Kate Bush will also find much to love in Spoonfed Hybrid’s chintzy synth sounds and winsome vocals.
Masters’ tricksy ways aren’t allowed to disrupt things too much but you can hear them lurking just around the corner on “Naturally Occurring Anchors”. It’s his choir-boy voice that dominates the mood of the album, though. In fact, it’s quite jarring when Trout steps up to the mic for “A Pocketful of Dust”.
The cult of shoegaze has done much to preserve the reputation of Masters’ first band. Quite right too – The Comforts of Madness is a near flawless album. It would be nice, though, if the folks who are keeping that particular flame burning would turn their collective attention to the more diffident – but no less impassioned – Spoonfed Hybrid.