Drop Out album cover
Drop Out

East Village

1993
Heavenly

Initially signed to Jeff Barrett’s pre-Heavenly label Sub Aqua, Buckinghamshire’s East Village had split up – live on stage, no less – by the time their debut album eventually came out in 1993. After the collapse of Sub Aqua, Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley lent them the money to record Drop Out and you can hear his faith in the group vindicated on these ten tracks. Much of the romantic, bedsit jangle of the previous decade’s indie music echoes through the record (The Pastels and Brisbane’s The Go-Betweens in particular), but there’s an assurance, soulfulness and ambition that makes it sound like a group on the cusp of something much bigger (The Charlatans are just one band who made more successful hay out of the seeds planted here). Moreover, the songs themselves – romantic, swooning and bittersweet – are flawless. A 30th anniversary reissue with sleevenotes from acclaimed England’s Dreaming author Jon Savage helped shine new light on an album that really does feel like a great what-if of the era.

Chris Catchpole

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