Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: when you hear that name what do you think of? Do you think of the odd line-up? They had two bassists. One took the traditional bass-line while the other riffed. Do you think of John Penney’s inexplicable hairstyle? Or do you think, “Who the hell is that?” If the last one describes you, don’t worry, you haven’t been ignoring a great new band, you were probably just born in the mid 1980s or later. Ned’s didn’t make many waves outside of Britain except for their excellent 1991 debut God Fodder and broke up in 1995.
Well, Ned’s is back. Kind of. According to their website, all the original members were contacted by Sony about putting together a track listing for a best-of. Since the guys weren’t really best of buds anymore, they worked out the project through e-mail. I guess they decided to get back together and have some fun. They played a show in December in London marking the first time in thirteen years that the five original members were in the same room. There has been no talk of recording new music since they have been “re:united” (they were discussing the track listing for the aforementioned best-of, entitled Some Furtive Years: a Ned’s Anthology, via e-mail. Thus the somewhat cutesy “re-united” slogan on their site). In 2006, with the help of some replacement members, Ned’s released a three-song EP entitled Hibernation that had the all the brio of their early years and a spirited, if ill-advised, remix of “Kill Your Television.”
I’m hoping that the band will release a new album sometime soon. And that they will tour in the U.S. That seems unlikely. Maybe if we all hold hands and sing in the words of their biggest single “Grey Cell Green”, “The grey cell’s green only if the green sells grey” they’ll come to the States. What on God’s Green Earth does that mean, by the way? My friend David Mason is sure that the entire song is about Swamp Thing. I’m not convinced, algthough that might shine some light on the lyrics, “You’re telling me it’s mother earth, some sign of birth It’s not, it’s inside me”. Or maybe he’s a drug mule. Consumed with “dee-sah-high-er” (thats “desire” in John Penney-ese). Ok so: grey cells = brain matter, no, wait, still nothing. I welcome any theories as to the song’s meaning, but don’t really care. Its an energetic,3:00 minute, post-garage, over-amped good time.
Why write this post when there is nothing new to report? I just found my copy of God Fodder on cassette under the passenger seat of my truck. I say “my” copy when actually I purloined it from Squint’s guitarist, Matt Frederickson some years ago. No Matt, you may not have it back. You have a CD player in your car and I have a tape deck. I deserve that tape!
Here’s “Grey Cell Green”: