Sunday, 17 May 2009

Space 'Female Of The Species'

Chart Peak: 14


I suppose if there's one signifier of how big Britpop was around this time, it's the way that the tracks are spread out all over the album instead of being corralled together.

Despite their other success, Space seem bound to be remembered for their first Top 40 single ('Magic Fly' was of course by a different band) and the song that seems to have attracted the attention of soundtrack compilers, probably because of the convenient cliche in the title. I don't think I ever forgave them. In fact, this is another track that I don't associate with the album, because it was so ubiquitous you ended up not really noticing you'd heard it. That and the fact that my brother actually bought the Space album Spiders, which he later claimed as the worst he'd ever purchased... at least, the worst he'd ever purchased in the expectation it'd be any good.

'Female Of The Species' actually manages to hit two 1990s trends: not just Britpop, but also the lounge music revival. Frontman Tommy Scott apparently chose this style in tribute to his late father's tastes, and whilst it's evidently no more than pastiche it does at least seem to reflect a certain amount of effort, with both the arrangement and the lyric tipping their hats to the old crooners. At the same time it's audibly not the work of the sort of skilled professionals who turned out the records of the pre-rock era, the lyric is clumsy (it rhymes "for me" with "on me"!) the music sounds a bit cheap (and like a lot of records around this time, there's some oddly out-of-place scratching in the mix) and it's all capped by Scott's rather gurning vocal. Also, since we know it's from the 1990s, it does seem a little sexist. It only really comes into its own during a brief breakdown section mid-song when the retro instrumentation gives us a little mellow moment.
I don't hate this record as much as I used to, but I'm not sure whether it's really improved with age or just acquired some nostalgic glow now it's older.

I'd never noticed before, but about one minute into the video a black cat appears to get bored and walk out of shot. I don't blame him.

Also appearing on: Now 35, 36, 39, 41
Available on: Awesome!

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