The Pastels In-depth Biography
Although virtually unknown outside of indie rock} circles, the Pastels} were one of the most inspirational and enduring groups of their era, spearheading a movement towards a renewed sense of wistful musical primitivism and willful naivete known variously as "shambling" and "anorak pop}; " in addition, their influence helped bring international notice to a resurgent Scottish musical community, with frontman Stephen Pastel}'s legendary 53rd and 3rd} label helping to launch the careers of bands including the Jesus & Mary Chain}, Shop Assistants}, BMX Bandits}, the Vaselines} and the Soup Dragons}. Formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1982, the band initially comprised vocalist/guitarist Pastel} (nee McRobbie}), guitarist Brian Superstar} (born Brian Taylor}) and drummer Chris Gordon}; they debuted that autumn on the Whaam} label with the single "Songs for Children,"} but Gordon} soon exited, the first of many subsequent lineup shuffles.
Ambition was never the Pastels}' strong suit, and luck was rarely on their side; as the group's members -- now including bassist Martin Hayward} and drummer Bernice Simpson} -- devoted their primary focus to their studies, new music appeared only sporadically and to little notice, on a seemingly random series of labels. After 1983's "I Wonder Why"} was released on Rough Trade}, they moved to Creation}, where they hit their stride with the 1984 drone-pop} gems "Something's Going On"} and "A Million Tears."} After one further single, 1985's "I'm Alright With You,"} the Pastels} split with Creation}, moving to the tiny Glass} label. In 1986, their track "Breaking Lines"} appeared on the influential C-86} collection assembled by the New Music Express}, transforming the anorak movement into an overnight media sensation quickly accompanied by intense critical backlash.
Regardless of prevailing musical trends, however, the Pastels} soldiered on: after recruiting one-time Shop Assistants} keyboardist Aggi Wright}, they recorded the 1986 single "Truck Train Tractor,"} followed by Crawl Babies} and Comin' Through}. Finally, in 1987 the group found time to assemble an LP, Up for a Bit With the Pastels}, followed in 1988 by Suck on the Pastels}, a collection of unreleased Creation}-era material. In 1989, former Vaselines} frontman Eugene Kelly} and ex-Shop Assistant} David Keegan} joined the fold for Sittin' Pretty}, the final LP to include Superstar}, Hayward} and Simpson}. The remaining duo of Pastel} and Wright} expanded to include Katrina Mitchell} for the 1991 collaboration Jad Fair and the Pastels}, followed by the 1994 EP Olympic World of Pastelism}; Mobile Safari} appeared in 1995. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide