The Newcastle based band Dubstar scored their first big hit with the sumptuous 'Not So Manic Now'... It made the Top 20 at the beginning of 1996 and they plan to re-release their first single 'Stars' shortly.And to save you looking it up, I can confirm that they did indeed re-release 'Stars'; including that they had a further five Top 40 singles until the year 2000, although without further Now appearances. Whilst it was neither their first nor their biggest hit, 'Not So Manic Now' is perhaps the song for which Dubstar are most remembered nowadays, although unfortunately for their bank balances it's their only single that wasn't an original; it's a cover of an obscure track by Brick Supply, who were apparently also from Yorkshire and presumably personal acquaintances of the band.
Its origins notwithstanding, the track fits seamlessly into the Dubstar style, sugar-coating a dark lyric about a traumatic attack on a pensioner in a tower block with a bright electronic melody and Sarah Blackwood's clear and heavily accented vocal. It's not a wholly original formula - the Pet Shop Boys are but one obvious precedent - but it's brilliantly executed here, creating a major radio hit at the time and one of the key singles of the Britpop era. Indeed a YouTube commenter reports seeing an actual elderly person enjoy this one on the radio. They weren't always this excellent but they were a solid singles act of their day and deserved better than the drift into obscurity that befell them. Although last year they, like pretty much every otehr act of the era, reunited and released obscure single from a planned fourth album.
Available on: Disgraceful