Whistler, and band together for a short time, but who released two albums and drew acclaims from the press. The three piece consisted of former EMF member Ian Dench, vocalist Kerry Shaw and former Eno violinist James Topham began life as early as 1996, but it wasn’t until 1998 that they released their first single Rare American Shoes, but it was their second single, If I Give You A Smile that attracted the press, with both NME and Melody Maker giving rave reviews. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1999. Their follow-up album, Happiness came the following year in 2000 and this session, their only one for John Peel, was part of their promotion for the album.
Sadly, they broke up soon after, and this session is about the only record of any live gig they did.
I’ve noticed over the past several months that I’ve been running a LOT of bands that were either short-lived, underrated or needlessly obscure. It’s not that I’ve chosen to focus on those bands that made a contribution yet weren’t acknowledged for it, it’s just, there are so many to choose from. This offers further evidence that there are many bands who have missed deserved recognition, or whose timing was off or who just suffered from bad luck. Whistler is certainly a case in point. A band with good credentials and good press coming in, yet failed to crack into the mainstream or who were passed over in favor of a louder group of colleagues.
Whistler is a textbook example of bands who have inexplicably wandered into obscurity and have, for the most part, stayed there. But it also offers more proof that musical movements are very often not left up to one band or one artist, but rather many who helped light the way.
Whistler was just such a band.