They Have To Catch Us First – Domino Records

Label: Domino Records

Every so often a label comes along that taps into, however accidentally, the record buying habits of spotty, cola-quaffing teenagers and student-sorts everywhere. I’d quote one off hand, but for the life of me I can’t think of one just now, which only goes to show just how transient such fads can be. Domino, on the otherhand, has built its success on following its own peculiar instincts. Fair enough, they released an absolute bag of shite in the days immediately following their formation in 1993, with founders Laurence Bell and Jacqui Rice found guilty and bang to rights for releasing a Sebadoh single as a label first. But it’s a minor offence given the sheer unpredictable range of beauties released since that date: Franz Ferdinand, The Kills, the Arctic Monkeys, Test Icicles, Clearlake, Elliot Smith, the Magnetic Fields, Four Tet, Tortoise, Pavement, Orange Juice, Smog, Stephen Malkmus, Clinic, Preston School of Industry, Folk Implosion, Sons and Daughters, Hood – the list goes on. Well almost. Throw in Olympic World, Will Oldham and Movietone and the list is covered, pretty much – but you get my point; this is a lot, no, a great deal of serious, proper talent, and serious, proper music. And although the distinction is fairly negligible for the most part, the harder you think about it, the easier it can be forced into making some sense. Take the Arctic Monkeys, for example, they make f**king sound music on the one hand, and are a f**king sound bunch of lads on the other. Same with the Mr Ferdinands – lovely sounding music on the one hand, lovely bunch of lads on the other. Are you beginning to see a pattern?

I’d love to be able to explain the spirit and the soul of this great independent label, but my comprehensive school education together with my lack of perception and none too sharp critical faculties lets me down. What I can tell you is that Domino have ridden the wave of Brit Pop that threatened to overturn them like a small yellow lilo in the face of a monster-sized tsunami and have surfaced on the otherside of the beach with a dry martini in one hand, a big, fat spliff in the other, a windbreak, a complete set of beach skittles and a huge, fuck-off pile of super sharp vinyl at their feet, whilst idly kicking around the world that landed there with it. It’s a beach-ball/world metaphor thing. A success thing. An against all odds kind of thing. An us against the world kind of thing. A new-wave, leftfield electronica, weirdo folk, blues-oriented, South American, expresso-bongo, shapeshifting, salsa-kissing, alternative, freaky, schizoid, don’t give a shit, the artist knows best, anti-commercial, life-enhancing, eclectic, challenging, authentic, life-saving, Psapp, Kills, Icicles, Franz, Tet, Molina, TV, Outfit, Daughters, low-cost 14 track compilation kind of thing featuring a swag of great material.

It’s a solid gold investment and they’d like you to share the loot.

It says it on the sleeve, so at least one thing here is true. I just hope I’ve described the spirit.


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Release: Domino Records - They Have To Catch Us First
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Released: 19 April 2006