The world will stop and spin ten times faster

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A piece about the Hellfire Sermons, which became the starting point of an article for Tangents, which itself was reworked as sleeve notes for Hymns: ancient and modern, the collection of singles and unreleased recordings issued by Bus Stop in 2002.  It’s a great shame that the Hellfires never recorded an LP either for Esurient or Dishy – but at least Hymns helps fill that absence.

‘Not nailed down’ was the 1990 highpoint of their first phase as a fantastically melodic and incisive guitar pop group.  And in ‘Covered in love’ you hear the precise moment at which singer Colin Pennington apparently comes unhinged, with the group following suit.  It’s a thrilling record, crazed and dangerous but deliciously catchy.  They even managed to pull off the same trick with their next single for Dishy, ‘Sarasine’, which was equally blood-curdling.  In their guise as supreme melodists, they were another fab group from Liverpool to set alongside the Teardrop Explodes, Shack and the La’s.  And as scary dramatists, they out-Pixied the Pixies.

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