80s heroes Close Lobsters rock on

THEY'RE the C86 cult heroes as adored in New York as back home in Scotland - and now the Close Lobsters are back.

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Close Lobsters singer Andrew Burnett
Close Lobsters singer Andrew Burnett

The Paisley band were masters of jangly guitar pop in the late 80s, and found themselves proving a hit in America.

Rolling Stone magazine raved about them, but the band broke up in 1989, only to reform for a few shows last year.

"There was always a sense of unfinished business with the band," says singer Andrew Burnett, ahead of a gig at Stereo tomorrow.

"Then this opportunity arose to play the Madrid Popfest last year, and we took that with both hands.

"One of the compliments that we got was how well it sounded and how tight we were - I think maybe people were comparing it to bands getting back together after years apart, like the Stone Roses, and their first gigs being a bit rough.

"The music has held up. The cyclical nature of fashion meant it was time for it to come round again."

The band emerged as part of the famed C86 movement, alongside acts like Primal Scream and the Wedding Present, while their albums, Foxheads Stalk This Land and Headache Rhetoric, displayed their grasp of melody.

Yet it was over in America where they had most success, gaining popularity thanks to regular airplay on college music stations, and the band took the chance to head back Stateside recently, playing shows in New York.

"If I was going to be pompous I'd say it's the old biblical thing about prophets not being welcome in their own land," says Andrew, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

"It was good to go back there, as the last time we played there in the original five-piece format was back in 1989. New York was a phenomenal experience. I love the place and always have done.

"It seemed bizarre to some of our friends how popular we were over there, we were pretty obscure over here."

It's a path many Scottish bands have followed since, with the likes of the Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks proving huge hits with US audiences.

"There's a huge movement over there, a huge appreciation of Scottish music," says Andrew.

"I've got a few American friends who elevate Glasgow to this myth, this origin of that type of jangly music, and the ironic thing is that we were taking our influences from American music."

Now that the Close Lobsters are back together, there's no plans to rest on their laurels.

Already they are hopeful of a new single coming out next year, along with further gigs.

"We're finalising a new single and hope to launch it in the spring," adds Andrew.

"It was always my intention to have new material and playing gigs is a good way of doing that, it gets you back in the swing of things."

While Andrew admits there are regrets over their 80s days, including not taking gigging opportunities in Berlin and the West Coast of America, he's mainly just enjoying getting to play with his bandmates again.

"We didn't like courting publicity in the 80s, we were too young to deal with it or the trappings of being quasi-celebrities," he concludes.

"That wasn't part of the goal, that crept up on us - we were more interested in just making music.

"I think it was people whispering in our ears about what could happen, and you get a bit swayed, but nowadays it's just the love of the music."

l The Close Lobsters, Stereo, tomorrow, £10, 7.30pm.

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