The Concorde, Brighton. Four, maybe five years ago. Twenty or thirty people sit around drinking and
talking, precisely two people stand and gape as the Bardots crash and swoon their way through songs of
impossible melodrama, shrouded in slides of red roses and razor blades.
I guess that something inside me has always despised the idea of pop music as camaraderie. The singalong,
the disco dancefloor...all alien. The Bardots were a solitary pleasure, a personal to-die-for aesthetic, a lost cause.
Flawed, always flawed. Never trust anything that gets too close to perfection. But, equally, never trust anything
that doesn't strive, that doesn't yearn - it's too easy to settle for low com denom familiarity. Regardless of
their delicious arrogance, the Bardots articulated dreams, desires and disappointments - "We'll steal ourselves
a car / And take us to the world". Hopeless, hopeless romantics...
They're gone now. I heard the news last week (just one line in their record company's newsletter - 'The band broke up. Sorry, folks.' - so I guess
this is their obituary) and life immediately became just a little bit more dreary. The
third album really would've moved mountains, y'know.
What a f***ing waste.
Pretty O. The full on, f*** off statement of intent. Dunford, attention seeker to the last, comes on all hysterical
("I'm a naked jack / Finger to socket") while his band swaggers majestically.
Shallow. The Bardots at their most spiteful, poisoning some lovely dream-pop with glorious snobbery. "You are
shallow, you are shallow / I still love you". Aw, how touching.
Cruelty Blonde. Swooning acoustic thing that never really turned my head.
We Are Fiasco. Oh, you shameless tarts. A bit too desperate, a little too eager to flutter its eyelashes
in the direction of anyone who'll give it a second glance. (I love it to death, obviously, and in a parallel universe, it would
have serenaded the nation on Top Of The Pops.)
Carrion. In which the Bardots returned from an insanely lengthy absence, prowling and purring like never before. The world had long since
turned its gaze onto other things - apart, of course, from a bloke in Brighton who was
bowled over once again.
Eye Baby. A disappointment, mainly thanks to the cavernous production which reduces the flighty
intricacies to dead-weight. In that parallel universe, "Eye Baby" was given a sympathetic
treatment, those classic songs that I still can't leave alone had room to breathe, the record company
didn't go bust just as the album was released and the Bardots are still serenading the nation on
Top Of The Pops. God, I really should get out more. Still a treasure, anyway, if only for what might've been,
the magnificently climactic 'My Cute Thought' and
the lustful slither of 'Obscenity Thing'.
V-Neck. Their masterpiece, an album of extraordinary breadth and complexity. The guitars are more restrained, opening the way for an almost Wire-like
use of textures. Dunford indulges his love of f***ing around with grammar and diction, leaving his vocals
snaking sassily through the songs. 'Skin-Diving' was the perfect soundtrack to last summer, all wistful melancholy and
dashed hopes; 'English Lovers' is disappointment becoming cynicism ("He's not promising an ocean / He's
not making you cry / He's not telling any lies"); 'Irene' is a vicious vendetta song ("You took my stereo
and my book / You never read it, though - you got stuck"); "Feeling Juvenile" is just the most glorious revelling
in failure ("Stop stop press / Life's complex"). It was the record they'd always threatened to make.