R Is For Razorcuts

I didn't have a clue. I didn't know a thing.

I used to walk up the stairwell of the Virgin store opposite Glasgow Central to the singles floor. I used to climb the stairs with a million daydreams leaping around in my head and a million tears welling up in my eyes, the dams all ready to burst through despair or joy, I really didn't know which and I really didn't care. Like I said, I didn't have a clue.

The first thing that caught my eye was the big black heart, roughly drawn as if by a frantic five year old clutching a crayon. The second was the name, similarly scrawled. It said 'Razorcuts'.

In my head I heard those Buzzcocks lines. You know the ones. You must. And I knew right then that this record simply had to become part of my collection, had to become part of my life. It did. And it did.

Of course it did. How could it not? How could a record that sounded like the bastard off-spring of those Mancunian speedfreakheartbreakers breeding with the Millennium not? Not that I knew anything about the Millennium at the time of course. Because not having a clue all I DID know was that those two songs were like grenades hurled into my life from who-knows-where, and that the explosions sent sherbert shrapnel deep into my jugular, burning, burning, burning with the most heavenly pain imaginable.

I pored over the sleeve for weeks. I almost wanted to still be in school so I could have scribbled 'gyrating, beat-happy, a real outta sight sound!' and 'heartbeats up love... AGAIN!' in bright red marker on my book covers. Instead I sat on a train to Glasgow every day and in my minds eye watched my old peers still there listen to their Dire Straits whilst I frothed at the mouth and sang 'I'll still be there' in my head every waking minute of every day.

Later, there came more songs to colour my world in Warhol hues. 'Summer In Your Heart' was simply awesome. It carved delicious slices across my heart for a minute and fifty seconds, and sprinkled space dust on the scars. The release was so addictive I had to repeat the experience as many times a day as I possibly could. These were days when a single song could change the world, and frequently did.

'Sorry To Embarrass You' made me break in two. I bought a copy for someone and sent it with a single white rose. Don't ask how or why, these things are not important. What is important is the dried petals in a bag pinned to the wall; a letter that starts ' the hardest way to start' and a photograph of the sky with the words 'on a clear day you can see the Pentland Firth, or the whole world' written on the back in pencil.

'I Heard You The First Time' came in a sleeve with winter trees on and was all trembling ferocity; it sounded like standing up to the school bully armed with a liquorice stick laced with razorblades. It was also on the ultra-cool Flying Nun records' UK imprint, which led to them touring as support to the mighty Chills; a twin-set of pearls I was lucky enough to catch up with in Glasgow Rooftoops and which left me breathless of course.

Later, there was an album (Storyteller) on Creation, at a time when I didn't really like albums. It wasn't the thrill of the singles, but it hit me hard in all the different ways it ought to have, it being Autumn and all. The songs sounded all ochre and pale yellow, like 'Brighter Now' which was like desolation angels breathing softly on the junkyard of life. Or the wondrous 'The Last Picture Show' which swirled like the leaves that skirl in their dervish dances as October winds whip up a storm off the hillsides. And still does.

Later still there was another album (The World Keeps Turning), also on Creation when that was the most unfashionable thing imaginable. I never even heard it, but the couple of tracks that surface here, like the gentle mild-psych pop of its title track are pretty fine and make me wish I had bothered to pick it up at the time.

But really at their finest, Razorcuts were a singles band, which is all any great Pop group should ever want to be, after all. Really, Razorcuts, at their finest, were the sounds of innocent abandon on acid; naiveté on speed. Or alternatively the music of a heaven where the headline band is Curt Boettcher jamming with Joey and Dee Dee.

That good. That special.

© 2002 Alistair Fitchett

Razorcuts: R Is For Razorcuts is out now on the Matinee label