Strawberry Switchblade Night School
1982 4 Piece Demo
Released: 26th May 2017
“1982 4-Piece Demo” is the first official, fully-licensed and unreleased material to be released under the name Strawberry Switchblade in 30 years. Since disbanding amid major record label acrimony and personal differences in 1986, the already-cult band have since grown in stature and legend. Trailblazers in many ways, the band’s mythology justifiably centers around the charismatic duo of Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall, but that isn’t a complete picture. Remastered and restored by Sean Pennycook from the original cassette, with artwork based on a single photographic contact sheet (the only visual evidence of the band in this form) and with a booklet of photographs and new text from contemporary Stephen Pastel.
“Spanish Song” is a previously unreleased song. With Rose McDowall’s instantly recognizable lead vocal dovetailing with Bryson’s harmonies and lead guitar, it’s the first glimpse at an alternative history of Strawberry Switchblade. This incarnation could easily have been featured on a Nuggets compilation or a precursor to the indie-pop revolution that would take over British bedrooms a couple of years later. Trees & Flowers is instantly recognizable, a bona fide classic that would earn the band its first record deal. Here it’s given a more forceful rhythm section: Goodlett and McGowan’s playing is in fact accomplished and doesn’t hint at the bands’ youth. Go Away would also surface later on the band’s debut LP but here it is a moody-garage stomper with a psychedelic, haunting refrain. These 3 songs point to a tantalizing future of the band that was never realized.