80s HITS: Shop Assistants


I never thought I’d be writing an entry on a band I listened to most intensely about 20 years ago. But yes, Chrysalis have decided to reissue Shop Assistants lone album Will Anything Happen, two years ahead of its 40 anniversary. Hopefully the remaster have made it sound better, considering it never had quite the same punch as their singles on Subway and 53rd & 3rd.

The new reissue comes with two cds that I haven’t seen the tracklists for, but according to Monorail they include the singles, a Peel session and 18 unreleased tracks – live tracks, demos, alternate mixes.

The group, who formed in Edinburgh, sounded like a more sunny Jesus & Mary Chain and were originally called Buba & the Shop Assistants. That 1984 single only included David Keegan from the later lineup, but also featured Stephen and Aggi from The Pastels.

Alex Taylor who played in Rote Kapelle joined on vocals, and she apparently passed away much too early about two decades ago. After Shop Assistants she had left to play with The Motorcycle Boy who remained on the label. Their music was also reissued five years ago.

The later lineup of Shop Assistants had bass player Sarah Kneale taking over vocal duties and Margarita Vasquez-Ponte (Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes, Rote Kapelle) joining on drums. Several of the members also played in the related Edinburgh group The Fizzbombs. After the band folded main songwriter David Keegan joined The Pastels.

The reissue is out at the end of July. Photo by Mark Flunder.

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