In January 2019 Brighton’s Big Salad Records put out a cassette comp. It was titled Celine’s Tape. The story went that Celine had recently moved to Brighton, from France, and fallen in love with the local scene. The tape contained 18 songs from established bands on the scene along with new ones. Not only was it a fantastic listen it showed the power of music. Here is someone new in town who fell in love with 18 bands and put out a comp. Now, a little under a year later, Celine, and Big Salad, are back for round two.
The first thing that strikes you about Tape #2 is the cover. Tape #1 had a bright and garish cover, yellows, purple, pastel blue and green features prominently. It demanded you to play it and expected you to dance around. This time everything is more sombre and washed out. Instead of a pair of silver boots, and union jack dress, the only image is the dilapidated West Pier slowly sinking into the sea, the rest of the cover is dark blue. There is no distinction between the sea, horizon and beach. This isn’t just a stylistic decision. The music is more brooding than the inaugural release.
Opening with The Snivellers’ brand of snide stumble-stop punk. This definitely isn’t the happy indie bounce of Cubzoa or Octopuses. Jimmy Bullet and Sealings are up next, ramping up the intensity through stark drum machines and atonal guitars. Desire deliver a woozy two and a half minutes of goth-pop. The stars of the show are Heirloom and Bebe Music. They show that Brighton isn’t all doom, gloom and screaming at the sea. These songs have an infectious bounce that is as hard to ignore as a seagull nicking your chips.
What ‘Celine’s Tape #2’shows is that Brighton’s music scene is very, very heathy. It is a scene that has had an equal level or praise and criticism in 2019. Thanks to bands like Squid, Penelope Isles, and Hanya there has been an interest in the scene again. This has caused some to condemn it as a false economy as venues have closed and new bands can’t get gigs. You can argue there is a petty jealousy to these negative claims, but if Tape #1 and Tape #2 are anything to go by Brighton’s current scene is buoyant and anything but boring. The gauntlet has been laid Celine. Roll on Tape #3…!