Thursday, October 25, 2007


Spirea X - Chlorine Dream

One of the things I like about this blog is the fact that it gives me the chance to sing the praises of bands that I feel never got the requisite amount of love they deserved at the time. Spirea X are one such band. They were signed to 4AD and fronted by Jim Beattie, a former member of Primal Scream responsible for their early 1960s jingle-jangle sound and booted out of the band when they went all leather-clad rawk first time around. The name Spirea X was lifted from a song by the Scream from Beattie’s time in the band; the b-side to the 1986 single ‘Crystal Crescent’, which also featured ‘Velocity Girl’, considered by many to be the defining C86 track.

‘Chlorine Dream’ by Spirea X is a classic lost single from 1991. Opening with a chiming guitar riff reminiscent of the Byrds, the song is a fabulous amalgamation of 1960s psychedelia, dream pop and shoegazer guitars, all underpinned by a danceable backing track of pulsing bass and baggy beats. I can remember seeing Spirea X play it live on ‘Snub TV’*, BBC Two’s yoof music show of the early 90s, and going absolutely crazy about it. From the almost hymn-like quality of the dual vocals of Beattie and Judith Boyle, to the uplifting middle 8, complete with euphoric trumpets, and the heavy bass drums at the conclusion, reminiscent of the legendary Hal Blaine’s drums from Paul Simon‘s ‘The Boxer’.

Spirea X only recorded one album – ‘Fireblade Skies’ – also released in 1991, which featured an extended version of ‘Chlorine Dream’. For a band who seemed to have everything going for them – signed to 4AD, classic songwriting, hip sound – it never really happened. The album flopped and Beattie disbanded the group and left 4AD shortly after. He went on to form Adventures in Stereo with Boyle, but is currently missing in action. Try and pick up the album from eBay if you can – it really is worth your time and love.

* I had a 3 hour video packed full of stuff I’d recorded from Snub TV, which a friend accidentally taped over with ‘Enter the Dragon’. I’m still gutted.

Search eBay for Spirea X
Spirea X on the 4AD website
Spirea X discography
Adventures in Stereo at
Read about Snub TV