Eg & Alice

by Simon

Back in 1991 Eg & Alice released their only album, 24 Years Of Hunger. I ignored it completely. Eg White had been in boyband Brother Beyond, but left before their work with Stock Aitken & Waterman in the late 80s. Alice Temple is a musician and model and was a BMX champion! She also worked with UNKLE later on. My sister had been a big fan and she bought this album. So too did other friends of mine who then raved about it. I heard a few songs, but didn’t really look past the slickness. Besides which 91 was more about Baggy and dance music, Julian Cope’s Peggy Suicide and Saint Etienne’s Foxbase Alpha.

The years passed and every so often I would read about Eg & Alice. “Lost classic” was the general consensus, and I would see that opinion more and more over time, which I noticed more and more too, especially as the album was originally a bit of a flop. Eg White released another couple of albums over the years, but more and more his dayjob took over, which is songwriter for hire. You will know the names of the artists he has written songs for or been drafted in to help with their songwriting, especially when a hit is required. Adele for instance. Will Young, James Blunt, Duffy, James Morrison, they’ve all had songs written for or with White over the past decade.

Its a shame because the work he does on his own has the same produced sheen as any of them, but at heart it’s quirkier, edgier even while it’s wearing the same clothes. The influences show where some of that ‘slick’ come from. Steely Dan, Prince, Prefab Sprout, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, perhaps Blue Nile and Peter Gabriel. Indian, posted above, is a fairly typical example of what the album sounds like, but it is far, far from being the best as far as I’m concerned. But if you like it go to the comments. You won’t regret it.

I managed to track the album down this week and I’ve been obsessed with it. At first it still sounds slick, but then it’s character and depth and hidden spikiness start to show through. I’m reminded of Steely Dan, but there’s lots of Prince, but more so it reminds me of the work of Wendy & Lisa. There are some odd moments of dischord in amidst it, but mostly it’s a hazy almost sleepy album. But undercut with a strange tense atmosphere. It’s not a happy album but it is a very contained one. I am more than a little bit in love with it.