'Ladykillers' looks set to give Lush their 2nd hit single of 1996... It is the follow-up to 'Single Girl' and is released on 26th February 1996.Well, that prediction was accurate, although it proved to be the smallest of their three 1996 hits, since both 'Single Girl' and '500 (Shake Baby Shake)' peaked at 21, though these were still comfortably their biggest hits. Sadly, they were also their last, as drummer Chris Acland took his own life later that year and the band were, understandably, unwilling to continue without him. This, however, finds them in happier times. It's their only Now! appearance and one of very few tracks licensed to the series from 4ad (in fact the only other one I can think of is 'Pump Up The Volume'). Their move from the so-called "shoegaze" style they helped pioneer to something more like the standard Britpop sound was certainly criticised in some quarters, and I can understand the reason why some people might resent that but the band themselves would doubtless have claimed that this was partly a result of their having increased confidence in their songwriting and hence less need to hide behind distortion. And in any case, I'd never heard any of their pre-96 stuff, and have only just started investigating it on Spotify while working on this post. They were right to be pleased with 'Ladykillers', a brilliantly waspish song about men who try to chat them up. There are almost too many great lyrics to pick any out but none of it would be as impressive without the brilliant call-and-response vocals and handclaps, one of the most effective attempts to update the Shangri-las sound for the modern age. Remember them this way, and enjoy the continuity error at about 2:03 in the video.
Interesting-if-true fact from Wikipedia: the cover version of 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend' which appeared on the 7" version of this single was later cited in a plagiarism suit against Avril Lavigne's song 'Girlfriend', which was alleged to be based on the Rubinoos original. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
And if you like this sort of music, or like reading about it at least, you might be interested in The Shine Years, a new blog by the noted Simon Tyers, which examines the eponymous series of mid-90s indie compilations in chronological order. It would of course be a spoiler to disclose whether this particular track appears anywhere in the series, but I don't think it's giving too much away to say that at least one track from Now 33 will show up.
Available on: Ciao! Best Of