Jenn Pelly – The Raincoats


Back in 2001 I bought the Rough Trade Shops 25 year anniversary boxset – which exposed me to a ton of music which influences me to this day. Anyway on disc 2 there was a track which consisted of yelpy raw vocals, furious drumming, primal guitars/bass and a scratchy violin. It was AMAZING.

That was my first exposure to the Raincoats.

A few years later a friend of mine copied their debut album and their equally good second album Odyshape and I wore them out. I admit the self-titled debut got more exposure.

Even today The Raincoats debut never ceases to amaze. It is a record full of melody and inventiveness. I still discover new sounds from it, not to mention the dadaist/personal lyrics. It really is a special record for me and unconsciously influences the way I make music. Thankfully not only does Jenn Pelly’s book do justice to the band and album but it is an AMAZING read and I learnt a ton of new things.

The main focus is the album but also Pelly goes into separate bios of each band member, the history of Rough Trade Shops, the state of Britain in the late 70’s, the musical climate and then an analysis of the album and its affect on cultural context. The book also mentions how the Raincoats influenced Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson, the rriot grrl movement of the 90’s and Kurt Cobain’s obsession with the debut. To make things more authentic Pelly managed to interview all members of The Raincoats and glean never seen photos of the group and artwork which are scattered throughout the book.

What else can I say? – do yourself a favour. Listen to the debut and then read this.