In the annals of jangle-pop / indie-pop history Scottish band This Poison! seem to have spent much of the last three decades being summarily and completely unfairly dismissed as something of a poor man’s The Wedding Present and of course there are certain notable comparisons.
Initially their quest to be considered more than just a ‘Weddoes’ imitation is not assisted by the fact that they were one of just three bands (The Wedding Present themselves and CUD being the others ) whose discography included releases on TWP’s own Reception Records label that operated for a few years just after the mid-1980’s, until the liquidation of the distribution company they were signed with saw it’s demise.
It was also not helped by the fact that all the bands on the label had the same sort of signature sound that included walls of incessant and vigorously scampered treble guitar rhythms being paired with more sparse bass lines that appeared to grumble at the bemusing energy around them. The Wedding Present (and their previous incarnation as Le Cadeau De Marriage), CUD and This Poison! all followed the same high octane template…Thank goodness!
However, This Poison! were vastly different in a couple of extremely distinct ways. Initially their guitar work embraced all things that were of the jangled guitar variety. Whereas TWP always suggested at an underlying melody amidst the cacophony of the delirious guitars, This Poison! embraced the sweet end of guitar possibilities with a far more concerted focus, as can be seen in a tracks such as the EP’s true stand out, Poised Over the Pause Button (see below) and its superb mesh of jangle-pop and Postcard (label) spike in the guitar work.
Poised Over The Panic Button
Secondly, This Poison! had a vastly different vocal energy. The essential essence of the David Gedge / TWP vocal delivery was succinct, pithy and laconic. It was/is the essential essence of what makes them so cool. With This Poison the vocal delivery has a far more deliberate energy. In a track such as the Engine Failure (see below) the vocals are delivered with force and demand equal attention with the energy surrounding them and their dominance provides whole different dynamic and aesthetic to TWP.
There is a compilation album out for this band from Egg Records (2004’s Magazine) that essentially includes the 14 tracks that effectively constitutes their entire studio output and a three demos. However this album does not match the consistent brilliance of this EP which was undoubtedly their magna opus.