Andy Marlow has remixed our 1994 demo (as Peach) – Beautiful Toys. Great job Andy.
Simon wrote a few words about Beautiful Toys for Facebook.
We were incredibly proud of this track back when we wrote it. Listening now, it stands up well, one quarter of a century later! It’s precisely because this was one of our favourite songs that it hasn’t seen the light of day for 26 years. I had always hoped we’d get around to producing a proper second Peach album full of out-takes and demo recordings – with Beautiful Toys as one of the standout tracks and maybe even the album title. That didn’t happen. The time was never right and the industry has changed so much in any case that I don’t think anybody in their right mind would have wanted to release Peach volume two as a commercial proposition.
The Covid lockdown and global misery pit we’ve all sunk into has finally nudged me to share this on YouTube. Andy Marlow (from Suns of the Tundra) produced the terrific remix of BT you’re now able to listen to.
We wrote this in a basement in Lillie Road, London, with the neighbours banging on the walls, over several months in early 1994. I don’t think I’ve ever spent quite as long since working on just one track with every member of the band chipping away obsessively to get a song arrangement that everyone is completely 100 per cent happy with. I’m sure we fell out a few times along the way, band members flouncing out of the studio in fits of pique, discarded guitars left feeding back on the floor in noisy protest at some imagined slight.
We played it at all our live shows through 1994 and it was certainly the longest track in the set, particularly on nights when we decided to extend the final section with long delayed loops of cosmic guitar wig-outs (hon menshes here to the Fender Jaguar tremolo arm, the Alesis Midiverb Mark II’s patch 49 – and the mighty Kevin Shields of MBV for first working out how to put those two things together).
Lyrically, I’m not entirely sure what it was all about. Some of it was quite literally about the way I used to steal toys from my friends much to my mother’s chagrin. I certainly remember my friend Martyn Jones’s Mum ringing our bell one evening around 1979 after I’d been playing at her house all day. She wanted to know where some of Martyn’s toys were and I of course knew nothing about any of that. The line ‘July we’d run wild’ is about those great summers when you’re a kid and your parents let you play out late in weakening light.
The second half seems to fall back into more standard falling in-and-out-of-love and pieces-not-fitting lyrical territory. And there’s some more of those nice choirboy minor harmonies we had on You Lied but which Maynard sang much better. I was listening to a lot of Bob Mould at the time and there is some kind of attempt at a semi-spoken word thing going on. It’s just possible that the original for that bit didn’t sound very good and I may have over-dubbed it at some point between 1994 and today