The Weather Prophets – . . . Blue Skies & Free Rides . . . The Best of 1986-1989

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Somewhere in the process of researching British indie, I came across both the Loft and spin-off the Weather Prophets. The Loft were one of the early Creation bands, and after an acrimonious break-up, vocalist/ guitarist Pete Astor and drummer Dave Morgan formed the Weather Prophets. I owned a Loft Best of – and while “Up the Hill and Down the Slope” is a marvelous song – I found I didn’t like a lot on that disc. The Weather Prophets, on the other hand, are phenomenal, and I am so glad I own this unassuming beacon of an album. The band released three albums and then Astor had a solo career, before eventually but sporadically reforming the Loft and playing shows as such.

What I Think of This Album

This is not going to set the world on fire, but it’s a nice soundtrack to the conflagration that threatens to consume us from within. A ripe 20 track collection (two of which are covers), this is a refreshing and completely enjoyable document of late 80’s British indie. Pete Astor has a way with a melody, he has a pleasing voice, and the arrangements and guitar playing are excellent.

Highlights abound, including the dusky and demonic “Worm In My Brain” replete with stellar guitar work; harmonium-fueled, syncopated mini-epic “Joe Schmo and the Eskimo”; sax-threaded “Aways the Light”; and hopeless but tuneful “Almost Prayed.” Equally great are the bouncy “The Key to My Love Is Green,” which finds room for a gritty guitar lead; hushed and gossamer “Like Frankie Lymon”; the yearning and lustful “Hollow Heart”; and a driving (ha) “Chinese Cadillac.” The band pulls off a lovely lullaby with “Sleep” and further delves into the sincere on the charming “Can’t Keep My Mind Off You” and poppy, jangle-riffic “You’re My Ambulance.” “Blue Rooftop” is a delightful, keyboard-heavy ditty. Honestly, I love this album. The covers are Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway” and Dylan rarity “Odds and Ends.”

The liner notes include essays and reminisces by Creation head Alan McGee; band members Astor, drummer Dave Morgan, and guitarist Oisin Little; Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers, and novelist John Niven (I think). Darren Hayman of Hefner is thanked for help with the cover art.

The Best Thing About This Album

The guitars, by Oisin Little, are fantastic.

Release Date

June, 2004

The Cover Art

This is a bit too naturalistic for me. It speaks of poverty and mildew and resignation. I don’t like how it makes me feel.

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