Lots of stuff running lately...wrote this in a rush yesterday...up today at Dusted.
Cravats in Toyland
“Gordon,” the Cravats’ first 1978 single, is a ferociously uneasy thing, brought into being by a feral, bassline, ornamented in a mad, half-cocked way by two-toned saxophone and scrabbly guitar and narrated in a staccato, psychotic deadpan by the inimitable Shend. It’s as if the raw threat of the Pop Group ran into a ska-happy dance party, disturbing, dissonant and, in its way, unstoppable.
The Cravats, who came from Redditch (about 15 miles south of Birmingham), formed in 1977 around the nucleus of guitar player Robin Dallaway, singer and bassist The Shend, and saxophone player Svor Naan. (John Yapp played drums on the first single, but the main drummer was Dave Bennett.) John Peel was an early fan, inviting the band in for the first of four Peel Sessions in July of 1979 and again in 1980, 1981 and 1982. In a 1982 interview with Smash Hits, Peel observed, “I hate Toyah records and they all go whizzing into the charts, and I love The Cravats and play all their records and nobody buys them. Whenever I start to feel important I think, ‘Well, I never did much for The Cravats and I didn’t stop Toyah’.”