Hipsway – part of that flood of bands from Scotland starting in the early 1980s. Hipsway were a three-piece that dove straight into a mixture of Sophisti-Pop and Blue-Eyed Soul. The band was characterized by the deep and haunting vocals of Grahame Skinner and the tight guitar playing of Pim Jones.
Although they didn’t stay together for very long (1984-1989 – 5 years is a short period of time for a lot of bands), they did score some moderate success both here and in the UK with a number of singles ranking highly on the charts. They released two albums during their tenure, their debut album doing well on the charts.
But as is often the case, bands split up, go in different directions – or they stay together and change style or personnel, sometimes both – and often not with a lot of success.
When Hipsway called it quits in 1989, their second album failed to chart – there were already personnel changes in the band (founding member and bassist Johnny McElhone left to found another Scottish band, Texas and much of the momentum had evaporated and they weren’t able to build on the success of their first album.
Tonights show is from Reading Union and it was recorded by the venerable BBC for their In Concert radio series in 1986. It comes at the high-point in their career as a band as it.
Maybe you remember them during this period – there was a lot going on, and bands were coming out of the woodwork with a style directly in contrast to punk. It wasn’t New Wave and it wasn’t exactly Electronica – it was something new which borrowed heavily from some of the excellent Soul prototypes of the 1960s. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, sit back, relax and have a listen. Welcome to the 80s.