White Bread, Black Beer
Label: Rough Trade
Availability: In stock
2006’s Mercury Prize-nominated White Bread, Black Beer and Early will both be available again on vinyl.
Early brought together a series of formative recordings from the late 70s and early 80s, for an America-only vinyl release in 2005. The collection, accompanied by sleeve notes from Green Gartside, included the band’s debut single Skank Bloc Bologna, along with seminal tracks including The “Sweetest Girl”, 27/8/78 and Lions After Slumber, and offered a stunning chance to enjoy the long-overlooked musical foundations of Scritti Politti again.
Emerging from the scene around Leeds Art School, with fellow travellers The Mekons and The Gang Of Four, and recorded while the band were residing in a Camden squat organised along Marxist principles, these post-punk rallying cries which prefigured Green and co’s pop-leaning rebirth several years later, were the songs that grab the attention of John Peel, Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis and a generation of music fans who helped bring the indie music scene ‚Äì and the labels that accompanied it ‚Äì into existence. A musical community in which Scritti Politti played an influential and formative role.
Fittingly, for the release of White Bread, Black Beer, which was a beautiful expression of the creative energy Gartside had sustained over two decades at that point, Scritti Politti returned to Rough Trade for the first time since the mid-1980s.
Humbly described by Green on release as “an album of me playing around in the back room… just me alone at home”, White Bread, Black Beer was universally acclaimed. Described as “a return to the top” by The Guardian, “the best record of this restlessly self-critical career” by Uncut and “a sophisticated, gloriously gentle thing” by Pitchfork, the record was duly nominated for the 2006 Mercury Prize (and was only pipped by Arctic Monkeys’ debut).
After being out of print for several years (and in some places never previously available) both albums will return to the record racks this autumn.