HEAVENLY – ” John Peel Session’s “

Posted: January 23, 2023 in MUSIC

Heavenly were Amelia, Mathew, Peter, Cathy and Rob. Heavenly were an indie twee pop band, originally forming in Oxford, England in 1989. Amelia Fletcher (vocals/guitar), Mathew Fletcher (drums; Amelia’s brother), Peter Momtchiloff (guitar) and Robert Pursey (bass) had all been members of Talulah Gosh, a key member of the C86 scene.

In their heyday, they were considered part of the C86 scene (A term coined after music paper NME released a cassette-only of indie bands whose jangling guitars and melodic pop tendencies became a code name for Indie). The scene was praised and derided, but came to be pivotal as part of the Indie scene that had developed in the late 80s/early 90s.

Peel played some of Talulah Gosh’s tracks in the late 80’s and was aware of some of the members, including Amelia Fletcher, who collaborated with many of Peel’s favourites, including the Wedding Present. She later joined with Heavenly and the group got substantial airplay by Peel through the 90’s, including a couple of sessions, as well as an entry in the 1993 Festive Fifty.

They released four albums from 1991-96. All four will be re-released on vinyl over the next couple of years. Heavenly, as well as Marine Research and the earliest incarnation, Talulah Gosh were pivotal bands at the time. Referred to variously as Twee and Indie Pop they were a lot more serious than their breezy lyrics would suggest.

In 1996, shortly before the release of their last album, “Operation Heavenly”, Mathew Fletcher, the band’s drummer and Amelia’s brother, committed suicide. The remaining members announced that the band name Heavenly was to be retired, but that they would continue, using the name Marine Research, a moniker under which they released a single album, 1999’s “Sounds From The Gulf Stream”, on K Records. Afterwards, Marine Research dissolved. 

John Peel Session 14.04.91 

Heavenly – characterized as a mix of Jangle/indie and Twee, the band came out of an earlier incarnation as Talulah Gosh, and were known for their light and innocent take on things – a breezy and carefree approach, coming just before Britpop hit.

Heavenly’s first BBC session for the John Peel show. This session, for John Peel, was recorded at the BBC on March 17th, 1991 and comes around the time of their debut album release, “Heavenly versus Satan”. Peel was a big fan and supporter of the group, whose sound was guitar-based and whose lyrics were mainly about innocent and unrequited love, much in the same vein as Talulah Gosh.

Although variously regarded as influential and trivial, Heavenly represented the new direction independent music was taking – and for the first time, being taken seriously. 

Released on vinyl for the first time, this is Heavenly’s first three-song session for John Peel, dating from early in the group’s life when they were still a four-piece – vinyl also features a couple of gems from elsewhere, one of them a rare Beatles cover. Includes sleeve notes from Amelia and Rob – plus a set of postcards.

Songsheet:
And The Birds Aren’t Singing
So Little Deserve
Escort Crash On Marston Street

plus rarities:
She Says (Borobudur version)
It Won’t Be Long (Revolution No.9 version)

John Peel Session 07.05.94 

Legendary Sarah band’s second session for John Peel, released on vinyl for the first time and featuring versions of some Heavenly favourites – among them “Dumpster”, set to become “Three Star Compartment on the Decline And Fall Of Heavenly” LP later in 1994. Includes free download of original BBC session recordings plus sleeve notes from Cathy and Peter and a set of postcards. 

Songsheet:
Itchy Chin
Sacramento
Sperm Meets Egg, So What?
Dumpster

Marine Research – John Peel 18.05.99

Following in the Indie/jangly footsteps of their predecessors Heavenly and Talulah Gosh, Marine Research came about as the result of the sudden suicide of drummer Matthew Fisher. It was decided the band couldn’t continue on the way they had before, so they set out to find another name, and that’s where Marine Research comes in. The band issued two singles before calling it a day. Well received, but not enough to sustain things, Marine Research split up for good in 1999.

After the death of drummer Mathew Fletcher and the band changing their name to Marine Research, Peel continued supporting the new band with airplay and a couple of sessions, as well when the core members of the group reformed as Tender Trap in 2002.

Same line-up, but understandably without drummer Fisher, they were joined by drummer DJ Downfall and began anew.

This session comes just prior to the end – it is the first (and presumably) last session the band did for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. It was recorded on April 18th, 1999.

This is the only BBC session ever recorded by the wonderful Marine Research, the group formed by members of Sarah legends Heavenly following the death of Mathew Fletcher. Gatefold double 7” vinyl has four songs, among them the gorgeous ‘Angel In The Snow’ and previously unreleased ‘Bad Dreams’, featuring David Gedge of the Wedding Present) plus ‘Capital L’, which would probably have been a single if the band hadn’t split up.

Package includes a set of postcards with previously unseen pics, download codes and informative sleeve notes from Amelia Fletcher. As an added extra freebie on the download, you also get a live show from BBC Sound City in Liverpool in October 1999 – introduced by Peel himself.

Songsheet:
I Confess Angel In The Snow, Bad Dreams, Capital L

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.