Twelve Cubic Feet: Straight Out The Fridge 12"
Twelve Cubic Feet: Straight Out The Fridge 12"
Twelve Cubic Feet: Straight Out The Fridge 12"

Twelve Cubic Feet: Straight Out The Fridge 12"

Tags: · 12" · 2024 · 80s · anarcho · anarcho punk · hcpmf · melodic · punk · reissues · Sealed Records · UK · ukdiy
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“Suddenly it’s ok to be a square” – Twelve Cubic Feet, a clear case of a band which should have been bigger than the Beatles but, for some malignant reason, became a blurry foot note on the underground music history. Formed from the ashes of Exhibit A in the Spring of 1981 the band disappeared leaving no trace shortly after 1983. During their brief existence they released a series of stickers, a monthly newsletter, two cassette tapes and their incomparable Straight Out Of The Fridge 10”, which was at the very top of our dream records to release since we started Sealed Records.

Twelve Cubic Feet released this perfect 22 minute 7 track album in 1982 on Namedrop Records (home to Doof, Philip Johnson and Cold War and ran by Philip Johnson and 12CF guitarist Paul Platypus). It is a a glorious scratchy DIY indie pop gem with a post punk spirit. The sound is naive and fragile yet very addictive. Based around jangly clean guitars, drums that are on the edge of falling apart, haunting keyboards and a female vocalist that has a knack for a golden pop hook. Hard not to fall in love with. It’s beautiful with a ragged charm that deserves to be heard by the masses.

Anarcho Indie pop anyone?? The band played a lot of the anarcho punk haunts of the early 80’s – Autonomy Centre in Wapping, Centro Iberico and London Music Collective and were equally heralded by punks (Andy Martin from The Apostles released one of their tapes) and the DIY music crowd. The line up changed after the 10” and they recorded a Joe Foster produced demo and fell in with Alan McGee’s Communication Club crowd. Twelve Cubic Feet burned bright for just a handful of years and now it’s time to burn bright again. Hopefully this reissue will help them reverse one of their sticker statements “today we’re nobodies but tomorrow you’ll know who we are”.

This reissue 12” comes with the 16 page booklet that came with the original 10″. Twelve Cubic Feet feature members who did time in bands such as Khmer Rouge, The Reflections, Solid Space, Doof and What Is Oil? Amongst others. For fans of the Marine Girls, Girls at our Best, Hornsey At War, Swell Maps and Postcard Records.

Our take: Sealed Records reissues this obscure and brilliant 10” from 1982, sizing it up to a 12” and including the same 16-page booklet that came with the original. Twelve Cubic Feet’s sound sits at the intersection of virtually all the interesting underground music movements happening in the early 80s UK. I hear elements of poppy anarcho punk like Zounds and Hagar the Womb, a lot of UKDIY (dig that total Television Personalities-style walking bass line on “Hello Howard”), touches of minimal synth (the to-die-for synth sound reminds me of Solid Space, with whom Twelve Cubic Feet shared a member), and the then-nascent indie-pop sound. On songs like the brilliant opener “Blob” and “Mary’s Got the Bug,” where the bass is up front and carrying the rhythm, Twelve Cubic Feet reminds me of Delta 5, but poppy tracks like “Evercare” and “Escaping Again” are more in the vein of Cleaners from Venus or the Times, rough-hewn takes on classic pop formulas. “The Almshouse,” on the other hand, employs the three R’s (repetition, repetition, repetition…), its circular, zoned-out sound evoking Can’s groovy meditations. There’s isn’t a dull moment on the record, and if (like so many of us), you have a taste for early 80s UK underground sounds from across the musical spectrum, you should get this right away.