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Thing of the week:
By Ian Grant
Brighton's finest band, and then some.

As Earwig a few years back, they came up with three superior guitary twelve inches before releasing an album of subdued electronic pop songs, 'Under My Skin I Am Laughing', that was so intimate it felt like an impolite intrusion to listen to it. Their last release was 'I Need Feel', a perfect, minimalist, mesmeric nine minute masterpiece and still one of my most treasured possessions.

Stripped down to a duo, they returned as Insides and signed to 4AD. Like all great bands, the themes (isolation, regret, anger, sadness) remained the same but the sound moved forward - 'Euphoria' was an extraordinary blend of lush instrumentation (flutes that didn't sound rubbish, some achievement) and vibrant technology. 4AD proved what useless fools they are by concentrating their attentions on the feeble likes of Swallow instead...

And so, the demo tapes that will form 'Consoling Blue', unmistakeably 1997's album of the year (Did I say 1997? Sorry, I meant 1999 - Ed). Rough mixes and four track recordings can't disguise just how devastating some of these songs are.

'Nothing Could Be Sweeter', two minutes of tightly-looped, skimming pop; 'What Can I Tell You?', brash 'n' brassy, Insides with their party frocks on; 'Two For The Road', bolstered by smoky beats, scarred by scratching, the song you'd want to hear after a hard night of broken-hearted drinking; 'Blue Nimbus', elegant, dignified resignation; 'All Life Long', an understated, gentle murmur...

They've been ignored for too long.