Performing Ferret Band

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“No One Told Us” CD (Messthetics 216)


You wanted to look back fondly on the day when you came home from the record fair, reeking of stale armpit, dust mites, the gingivitis of a hundred other men, and a cold slice of pizza, bearing a jewel. One platter in your pack stood apart. To the frosty silence broken only by what you perceived was the sound of her eyes rolling, you rattled off the rarities you had scored. And for your significant other, you saved the best for last. This significant slab, you held aloft. “The Performing Ferret Band?” she said. You smiled more than you would usually. You know because you felt the air on your back teeth. She wasn’t convinced. “Not that much,” was your pitiful lie about its cost. She’s heard that one before. And will again. The earnestness of your explanation trailed off with your voice after something about Kugelberg and unplayed vinyl. In your daydream about this moment on the subway ride home, she said something like “But what about the LP, isn’t that way rarer than the single?” Alas, no such question was forthcoming. You didn’t mention that you’d never even heard the Performing Ferret Band before because you knew that the first listen, as it always is with UK DIY, rarely helps explain why you had been seeking the record, much less spent money on it. Growers, the lot of them.

Some years later, the Ferrets’ CD, released by Messthetics, showed up unexpectedly in the mail. Who knew they had so many tracks? And who would’ve suspected the tracks on the EP would be far from their best? Not you. The EP tracks had hinted at the playfulness you would’ve expected from a band with that name, but their true playfulness—one thread of UK DIY; dour, morose, and bombastic among the others—did not become clear until hearing upbeat tunes like “Nudes.” Is that a melodica, you wonder? Certain songs’ guitar work even hints that the Ferrets were listening to second-wave ska or reggae. Of course, it turns out the best tracks were on the LP. Time to update the wantlist, you think. The liner notes, as you expect with any Messthetics release, are ample. And, as usual, you wish the CD’s order wasn’t random. You also wish the first track on it weren’t some sort of Christmas carol. WTF, you think. Nowhere to go but up, you guess. How is it that listening to UK DIY, you wonder, always manages to make the beginning of the Thatcher years, England’s most awful period after the blitz (maybe even worse than the blitz!), sound exciting? Do you really wish you had a time machine? You convince yourself that all you’d find would be grey council estates, boredom, gangs of gluesniffing skinheads, and more boredom, right? And yet those ingredients contributed to the milieu that produced some of the most incredible music you’ve ever heard. Luckily, she agrees.