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The Secret Goldfish

Scotland was again a hive of indie acts in the mid-90s; succumbing to issue records on fledgling Caledonian imprints (Douglas MacIntyre’s Creeping Bent, in this case), rather than take the route down to an unsympathetic London market. Sounding much like The JESUS AND MARY CHAIN locked in a public toilet with JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and NEW YORK DOLLS, the quartet quirkily took their name from an imaginary book credited in classic breakdown novel, The Catcher In The Rye.
Something of an indie supergroup from Glasgow, featuring former FIZZBOMBS singer Katy McCullars (alias Lironi), MACKENZIES/MKZ’s rhythm section Paul Turnbull (drums) and G Lironex/Graham Lironi (bass), plus relatively unknown guitarist John Morose, The SECRET GOLDFISH (not the early 80s bunch who all-but delivered 11th “Postcard” single, `Hey Mister’) came to prominence with wee gems, `Seasick’, `Mars Bonding / Venus Bonding’ (a 45 split with Spacehopper) and `Come Undone’.
Hiring Graham and Katy’s elder brother Stephen Lironi to produce their debut set AQUA-PET… YOU MAKE ME (1996) {*7}, all looked tickety-boo for an infectious band on the crest of a wave. Full of echo, reverb and 60s girl-group nostalgia, tracks such as the aforementioned singles and more besides (`Dandelion Milk Summer’ and `Tartan Envy’), kept the quartet in high profile – at least in the eyes and ears of rebellious Radio 1 DJ, John Peel; in fact `Dandelion MK’ reached No.23 in the man’s Festive 50.
Bellshill-born Graham (scribe of `The Catalyst’ track) would bail out for pastures new (to electronic experimentalists MONGOOSE). The future cult author’s berth was taken by Steven McSeveney, prior to a re-recording of `Tartan Envy’; one of the pieces that made up the part-covers CD, JET STREAMS (1997) {*6}; released on the German-based Marina Records. The renditions stemmed from The FIRE ENGINES (`This Arseholes Been Burned Too Many Times Before’), NIRVANA (`Come As You Are’), The VELVET UNDERGROUND (`Afterhours’) – ORANGE JUICE (`Intuition Told Me’), and spin-off single `Give Him A Great Big Kiss’ (The SHANGRI-LAS); the exclusive `Somewhere In China’ Spanish-only single (c. 1998) was once sung by The SHOP ASSISTANTS.
Other singles emerged from the pack; most notably the VIC GODARD co-penned `Somewhere In The World’ (which also featured Francis Macdonald and Stevie Jackson), although it wasn’t until summer ‘99 that the group returned with the soft and lingering third set, MINK RIOTS {*6}. TEENAGE FC connections aside, `Pink Drone’ (a fresher, fizzier version) and split 7-inch ditties such as `You’re Funny ‘Bout That, Aren’t You’ and `4 Excited People’, couldn’t convince The SECRET GOLDFISH to go beyond the millennium.
© MC Strong 1999-2002/GI&AD-GSM // rev-up MCS Sep2015

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