AFTER EIGHTEEN YEARS AWAY, SOUTH COAST-BASED INDIE DARLINGS THE POPGUNS RECENTLY RETURNED WITH POP FICTION – A NEW ALBUM PLAYING TO OLD STRENGTHS.
The Popguns formed in the late-1980s, and quickly gained a reputation for uncomplicated but heartfelt pop, carried by beautiful melody and distinctive vocals. Debut single LANDSLIDE was voted into John Peel’s prestigious Festive Fifty in 1989, but it was second single WAITING FOR THE WINTER and ’60s-influenced bitter-sweet joy-rush b-side BECAUSE HE WANTED TO (in some ways the IF LOOKS COULD KILL, by Camera Obscura, of its day) which most displayed The Popguns’ surprisingly tough edges. 1990 debut long-player EUGENIE gathered up the band’s first handful of singles, with critically acclaimed second album SNOG (1991) followed by a couple of EPs before a brief hiatus. The band returned in 1995 with single STAR and album LOVEJUNKY, followed by second compilation A PLUS DE CENT, but the law of diminishing returns meant the writing was on the wall for one of the finest bands of its era, and they split quietly in 1996.
In this new edition of The Mouthcast, singer Wendy and guitarist / songwriter husband Simon Pickles (fourth and fifth from left on the photo, above) talk about how the 21st-century version of The Popguns has grown since a tentative return for a few gigs in 2012. A triumphant set at the SCARED TO GET HAPPY mini-festival in 2013 seemed to mark the realisation that there was still an appetite for the band – and new album POP FICTION has them in confident form.