The Boo Radleys

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The Boo Radleys

British pop band

For the Record

Say What?

Selected discography


Martin Carr formed the Boo Radleys with his childhood friend Sice in the late 1980s, in their hometown of Wallasey, England. Wallasey is a suburb located across the River Mersey from Liverpool, the town which produced the group most often cited as the Boo Radleys primary influencethe Beatles. Other artists who had an acknowledged impact on Carrs songwriting and musical sensibilities include guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix, Brian Setzer, and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.

To get their band off the ground, Carr and Sice added bass player Tim Brown and drummer Rob Cieka to their lineup and appropriated the name of the recluse in Harper Lees classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The Boo Radleys official bio from Columbia Records portrayed the teen-aged Carr as a slacker and a dreamer trapped in a soulless town that squashed the ambitions and deadened the hearts of its brightest and most talented citizenshe and Sice included. But way back in the early 1980s, Martin Carr glimpsed an alternative, the biography said. Devouring books, films and records with Sice, the teen-aged Martin occupied a parallel world to that of his contemporaries, one in which he and his friends were pop stars, beautiful people living decadent lives in a dazzling metropolis a long, long way from this place. For years, however, that world existed only in Carrs headuntil he overcame his slacker tendencies and made a commitment to pursue his dream. Im really proud, Carr stated in the bands bio, of the way that weve gone from where we were when we started in Wallasey to where we (are) now. And weve done it just by doing itnot by sitting around waiting for other people to do it, which is what we did for seven years before that, wondering why we hadnt been on Top of the Pops when we couldnt play a guitar.

In the summer of 1990, the Boo Radleys released their debut album, Ichabod and I, on the indie label Prestons Action! Records. One review described the bands sound at that time as rudimentary sandblasts, and Carr has called the lyrics from his early compositions meaningless wank. The band followed Ichabod and I with an EP series called Studies in Brutalised Melody on Rough Trade Records, which included Kaleidoscope (1990), Every Heaven (1991), and Boo Up (1991) before moving to the Creation label. Creation released Everythings Alright Forever in 1992. Afterward, the band changed record companies again, this time to Columbia, and released the critically acclaimed Giant Steps in 1994, and Wake Up the following year. Writing in Guitar Player, Mike Metier noted the remarkably eclectic collection of songs displayed on Giant Steps. Carr bounces from texture to texture like a jumping bean on a trampoline, Metier wrote. For starters, theres the rasta-fied Lazarus, the Beach Boys-esque break in

For the Record

Members include Tim Brown, bass and keyboards; Martin Carr, guitar and keyboards; Rob Cieka, drums and percussion; and Sice, vocals and guitar.

Band formed in Wallasey, England, late 1980s; released debut, Ichabod and I, 1990; followed up with Everythings Alright Forever, on the Creation label, 1992; moved to Columbia Records for Giant Steps, 1994, and Wake Up, 1995; then signed with Mercury Records and released Cmon Kids, 1997.

Awards: Giant Steps earned NME Brat Award for Best Album, 1994.

Addresses: Record company Mercury Records, 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

Barney (and I), and the relentless right-channel squeal-back throughout Run My Way Runway.

In 1996 the Boo Radleys changed record labels yet again, this time moving to Mercury, which released the disc Cmon Kids. Guitar Players Metier described the disc as More hyperactive pop from the witty U.K. combo whose tunes veer druggedly from anthemic bubblegrunge to full-blown psychedelia. The best of the overdubbed raveups attain the sort of ecstatic peaks some associate with Ecstasy. Stereo Review magazine went on to explain that the Boos dramatically varied songs are much more a product of the studio than the concert hall: Unquestionably the Boo Radleys metier is the studio. They are disciples of that time and place (the late sixties and early seventies) when musicians aspired to create unified albums that couldnt possibly be duplicated on the stage Giant Steps is a balm for the ears and a trip for the mind.

Say What?

At times, Carr discusses his music in bewildering, fragmented non sequitars that could have been lifted straight from the rock n roll spoof Spinal Tap. In the Columbia bio, he reflected on his maturation as a lyricist: Its the duality within. That all started with Lazarus, cos that was a song about being a cabbage and saying fing get off your arse and do something. But the thing is, I cant think of anything to do. I have no other hobbies when were not working with the band or Ive got no songs to write. And its hard to listen when Sice is singing sometimes, especially when hes referring to somebody else. But you have to do it. You have to get on with it. Its the only way I can write. And its weird, cos now these lyrics are very introspective, totally the opposite of universal. I think theyre really selfish songs. And of course, theyre also for everyone.

Perhaps that peek into Carrs thought process explains his bands jumping bean eclecticism and penchant for songs which Entertainment Weekly reviewer Mike Flaherty described as melodically fragmented, lyrically obtuse onslaughts. In any event, while the Boo Radleys may not write a new chapter in the history of rock n roll, they certainly will provide an intriguing footnote.

Selected discography

Ichabod and I, Prestons Action! Records, 1990.

Kaleidoscope (EP), Rough Trade, 1990.

Every Heaven (EP), Rough Trade, 1991.

Boo Up (EP), Rough Trade, 1991.

Everythings Alright Forever, Creation, 1992.

Giant Steps, Creation/Columbia, 1994.

Wake Up, Columbia, 1995.

Cmon Kids, Mercury, 1997.


Billboard, October 19, 1996, p. 19.

Entertainment Weekly, April 18, 1997, p. 69.

Guitar Player, March 1994, p. 14; February 1997, p. 151.

Rolling Stone, October 1995, p. 33.

Stereo Review, May 1994, p. 86.

Additional material was taken from the Columbia Records web page.

Dave Wilkins