I’ve mentioned Ruth’s Refrigerator before in connection with Ruth Miller’s other band Po!, and here’s a full LP. A supergroup made up of various luminaries from the Leicester art-rock scene, they issued two albums, of which this from 1992 is the second. In a way, they actually released three albums, since the vinyl and CD editions of A Lizard Is A Submarine On Grass are almost completely different recordings. This is the vinyl version, which also has an exclusive song, a cover of Wire‘s “Outdoor Miner”. Everybody was covering that song in the 1990s.
This is lo-fi indiepop, quite twee with often nonsensical lyrics. In the case of “Examine The Insects And Hit Them”, the song had featured on their first album Suddenly A Disfigured Head Parachuted as an instrumental, with flippant non-appearing, unmetrical, lyrics on the inlay, and then they re-recorded it for this album using those lyrics. The other songs, I have no explanation for.
Link: Ruth’s Refrigerator – A Lizard Is A Submarine On Grass (vinyl version) (password: salad)
1. Moulted Fur From A Labrador
3. Gosh, What A Lot Of Umbrellas
4. Duck Pond
5. What We Waited for And Where It Was At
6. Ducklings #1
8. Examine The Insects And Hit Them
9. Ducklings #2
10. Accordian Music
11. Mr Misery
12. Outdoor Miner
13. My Head’s On Fire
14. Barry Baked Bean Is Back
15. And One More Thing
16. A Science Bar
Let’s go a bit jangly with PO!, an ever-evolving line-up which revolved around songsmith Ruth Miller. I first became aware of Miller through her work with early-90s Leicester supergroup Ruth’s Refrigerator – well, actually that band was my introduction to the whole sprawling Leicester art-pop scene, given that its members were instrumental (and vocal) in a whole mess of other groups including, but definitely not limited to, Deep Freeze Mice, The Chrysanthemums, (Jody And) The Creams, Immediate, The Thurston Lava Tube, The Junipers and of course PO!. Throw the likes of The Originals and Jesus Couldn’t Drum into the mix, and even Pete Frame would struggle to sort that lot out.
Anyhow, Miller took the majority of lead vocals in Ruth’s Refrigerator (she fronted the aforementioned Jody And The Creams as well), but PO!, where she performed her own material, was her main and best outlet. As she describes the band on her own blog, they had “soaring and jangly tunes, but the words are often more reflective, miserable or aggressive”. I’d call it proper, consistently high-quality old-school indiepop. I’m sure she’s been dogged by these comparisons her whole career but if you like Amelia Fletcher‘s work (and why wouldn’t you), then PO! should be right up your street too. Thrillingly, the old PO! material will (if things go to plan) get a long-overdue reissue in the near future. Meanwhile, here’s one of the later works…
PO! – “The Alphabet EP” (1997)