Big Flame: Tough


Ron Johnson 1985.  ZRON 4


I guess Big Flame will always be best remembered for appearing on the C86 compilation, but they didn’t come close to fitting that cliché because there was nothing twee or unoriginal about them.  Their angular, jarring guitar sound became what their label was best known for, and was some of the most interesting guitar based music around back then, with a healthy dose of radical politics thrown in for good measure.  However it’s not an easy listen, so if you’re after unchallenging indiepop, look elsewhere.

They seem largely forgotten now apart from the occasional re-issue, none of which are now available.  However they were apparently a huge influence on the Manic Street Preachers in their early Richie Manic period (no real connection though between Big Flame and what the Manics went on to become).

  1. Aaah. Great band. I have fond memories of attending an early gig in a ramshackle club on the outskirts of Manchester city centre in 1984. Many bands should have named Big Flame as an influence.

  2. Great indeed. I regret not buying more at the time – just didn’t have much money back then. The only other thing I have is the Sink 7″ which I’m sure I got from your blog.

  3. I loved them too – I bought everything they released.
    Didn’t like The Great Leap Forward, though.
    I think the drummer got a proper job and that was that.

  4. […] classic tonight, this time from Manchester’s A Witness.  This is an easier listen than Big Flame, but still has the jagged guitars and the debt to Captain Beefheart.  Add surreal lyrics, great […]

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