Pictures On The Pavement – Reviews

RELEASED 22 May 1989



Demi Pop Noise

It’s been over two years since Stockton’s Whirlpool Guest House released their well-received debut single ‘The Changing Face’ on Summerhouse Records, and now after a long delay comes the first album ‘Pictures on the Pavement’. The band comprises songwriter Carl Green together with husband and wife Andrew and Sallyann Davis, and their brand of fresh pop music has often been compared with Prefab Sprout, among others. The comparison is not inappropriate: both bands are centred around a main songwriter, employ joint male/female vocals, and are most at home in the studio. On certain songs on the new album, noteably ‘Salon Land’ and ‘Nearly New’, the ‘Sprout’ sound is particularly evident, although elsewhere the similarities are less obvious. One drawback to the album is the intrusiveness in the mix of the extremely basic drumming, which tends to swamp some of the subtleties in the tracks. But this apart, ‘Pictures on the Pavement’ is a pleasant enough work which more than fulfils the promise of the earlier single. Now if Whirlpool Guest House were let loose in an expensive multi-track studio, the second album could be interesting indeed.

Brum Beat, June 1989

Zwei Jahre nach ihrer so herausragenden “The Changing Face”-Single, gibt es nun ein weiteres Stück Vinyl, deren Veröffentlichung Pop-Augen nicht minder strahlen lassen, als es die Debut-Single seinerzeit tat. Für Mitte letzten Jahres war sie bereits angekündigt, doch finanzielle Schwierigkeiten zwangen das Label, die Veröffentlichung zu verschieben. Da augeschoben ja bekanntlich nich gleichzusetzen ist mit aufgehoben (altchinesische Weisheit? Der Setzer) liegt nun der erste Longplayer der Band vor, die von vielen zwischen Orange Juice und Teardrop Explodes gesetzt wird. Eine Plazierung, die vielleicht ein wenig unglücklich getroffen wurden, die aber auch, zum Teil zumindest, seine Berechtigung hat.
Wieder einmal stossen wir auf den so weit gefassten Begriff Pop. Kein Plätscher-Pop, nich unbedingt Guitar-Pop, weder shamblin’ noch sonstwiein’, die Melodie als Kern der Musik, zusammengahalten vom zweistimmigen Gesang, rechts der Mann, links die Frau, und eingerahmt von Gitarren und Schlagzeug, entsteht ein Kompositionsstil, der leider auszusterben droht.

Chris - Scratch, December 1989/January 1990

Here is a band with talent. A trio performing intelligent non-mainstream pop at its superb best. The sound maybe a little tried in places but it still stands out because of the bite in its tail. This makes it very individual, with Sallyann’s voice slighlty reminiscent of Bjork Sugarcube, equally as cutting and haunting but maybe not as powerful. The album allows us to take a look at their vast range of styles. It kicks off with the understated funk of ‘Plumbers Daughter’ and goes all the way through the spectrum in a cleverly understated way to ‘Scarecrow’ with its folksy guitars and rhythms and onto ‘Young Forever’ a brilliantly crafted, angry(ish) song laced with sarcasm. The lyrics of the album, written by guitarist Carl Green, are refreshingly honest. A brilliant debut it contains something for everyone and is an essential purchase. They deserve to go far if only because one of the sopngs is called ‘Contributary Negligence’ and they get away with it, and also because there is a serious need for a band as good as this.


An album that starts with the words “She was only the plumber’s daughter” must be taken with a bag of salt. In fact singer Carl Green is so tongue-in-cheek he looks like a hamster from one side. The long-awaited debut from the Stockton band hits the target in some songs (Bag Baby) and misses by miles in others.