Edinburgh’s The Thanes are back after a painfully long break, although I’ll give them that some of them were busy playing with Les Bof! and the reformed Poets, until George’s tragic death. They’ve now recorded new topnotch material to be released over the course of a few 45s, the first one being this one on State Records. Run by ex-Mystreated members, it must feel like coming home to Lenny Helsing’s ageing beat masters, since The Thanes and The Mystreated were always the best two British groups of the 90s. The collaboration was probably born out of the release of the unissued album by Helsing’s other 80s group The Offhooks a couple of years ago. Another one to check out if you haven’t yet.
This single is very much a tribute to The Poets, with the flip being a cover an old demo that appeared on the bootleg Scotland’s No. 1 Group. But even the a-side “She’s Coming Back to Me” lands halfway between their old favourites The Outsiders and The Poets, with ample 12-string jangle it sits squarely among their very best tunes to date. “Love Is Fading Away” is slightly sped up in relation to the original and sung with the great feeling by Helsing, the reverence to their forebears being palpable.
Next up is the Dirty Water single “Dishin’ the Dirt”, for which there’s already been a release party in London, but the records seems to have been delayed. Judging from the tiny snippets on youtube though, we’re dealing with a proper fuzz stomper here. And The Thanes are just as good at that side of the penny. On the flip we’re treated to another revitalized Scottish classic, this time The Anteeks’ “I Don’t Want You”. The b-side of that 1966 single, “Ball & Chain”, might be more familiar since it was also done by The Great Scots across the Atlantic. The Thanes’ take sounds truly vicious, keep an eye out for it.