New Musical Express, March 1993

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... Bibliography ...



Imperial boredom

Wendy James / Now Ain't The Time For Your Tears


It was easy to hate Wendy James, champion of Barbie Feminism, when she fronted corporate terrorists Transvision Vamp. It was easy to dismiss her as the gherkin in the great hamburger of Art. She didn't like clothes but she liked screaming about the "revolution." She was a complete prat.

But Wendy wrote to Santa, aka Elvis Costello, in the summer of 1991 ("about my general dissatisfaction... I was asking for help, but nothing specific") and he wrote her an LP. Simple, eh? And now everyone will realise there's far more to her than meets the eye. That she has things to "say." Wendy has had her stocking filled, if you'll excuse the expression.

Track one is a guitar-based, well-structured song, and Wendy sounds a little peeved. "It looks like you're the failure," she scowls. Next is "London's Brilliant," which is... a guitar-based, well-structured song. It's about London being quite good. It mentions Ladbroke Grove and Piccadilly, is strangely reminiscent of '77 vintage Clash while evoking as much of the atmosphere of the capital city as a tea-towel

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"Next year she’ll serve her function in her Audrey Hepburn hat / It still won’t suit her much but she’ll get over that." Mmm, bet she personally thanked Elvis for that one. Then it's "Puppet Girl." Guess what that's about. Yes, correct.

"Earthbound" is crap. Elv has penned the line "If you think this is only a dream / Jesus probably wants you for a sunbeam," which not only doesn't scan but doesn't mean anything either. Then it's along to "Do You Know What I'm Saying?," "We Despise You" (Beatlesque in places), "Fill In The Blanks" (rocky, yet light) which have Wendy venting her slight annoyance at... well, generally people who think she's a bit useless. Queue surprise.

She concludes her first solo album with "Stand Forever" which she describes as "a pastiche of an Andrew Lloyd Webber finale." It is actually rather great. It has strings and she doesn't pretend to be in a huff on this one. Phew.

Ultimately, Wendy James has made an LP which is fairly proficient, but, more importantly, an LP which is dull. It's all about Wendy and her World, which is not enough for ten songs. Wendy has only two emotions: "irritated" and "angry." Unfortunately, she only has one singing style, which seems to be "trying to resist the urge to shout." Now Ain't

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New Musical Express, March 1993 — exact date unknown

Includes a review of Now Ain't The Time For Your Tears.


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Partial clipping.

Illustration by Jon Langford.
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