Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Senseless Things - The First of Too Many (1991) - R.I.P. Mark Keds.

(Sigh).  I hate presenting music in conjunction with a passing.  In fact, it wasn't until about 24 hours ago that I had any intention of sharing this LP at all.  NME and other credible news sources reported yesterday that Mark Keds (actually Mark Myers), frontman for London, UK's Senseless Things (among other less renown acts) passed away on January 10, unexpectedly from what I understand.  Yet another filament of my adolescence had abruptly blackened out.  If you've familiarized yourself with S/T, you're almost certainly acquainted with this album (technically the only one they released in the States).  The Things were loosely clustered in the same camp as then-contemporary, British aggro-pop acts like Mega City Four, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and the Wonder Stuff.  Skewing most closely to the Megas (not to mention Montreal's Doughboys), Keds lead his quartet by way of a melodic maelstrom of punky power chords and strident vocals, with an upbeat but often bratty demeanor that at the end of the day was fairly indigenous. My interest in the band may have started and largely revolved around The First of Too Many, but didn't end there, even though I failed to investigate their other albums until several years after the fact.  

The album's title was a bit of a misnomer, as it wasn't the combo's debut (that honor goes to 1989's Postcard C.V.) rather their sophomore effort.  And definitely not a "difficult" follow-up record at that, as it perfectly conveyed the Things penchant for brash, riff-happy salvos paired with themes that exuded just enough frivolity to lighten the mood of anyone within earshot.  Drawing on inspirational antecedents like the Buzzcocks, and generally keeping tunes in the two-and-a-half minute range, the Senseless Things didn't exactly set the table for Britpop, but they managed to churn out a few modest hit singles in the UK during that ballyhooed era.  On the other side of the pond ...Too Many proved to be the band's lone offering, outside scarcely seen and pricier imports of subsequent albums.  There's rarely a wasted nano-second here, with "Everybody's Gone," "Easy to Smile" and "Ex Teenager" proving to be some of their most definitive moments.

Kerrang! offered a lengthier piece on Mark Keds life and musical exploits, though I (along with other fans) have suspicions about the actual circumstances that lead to his death.  In addition to ...Too Many, I previously shared S/T's third album Empire of the Senseless.  Finally, I'm sitting on several folders of b-sides, rarities and live tracks, so who knows, this may not be Wilfully Obscure's final word on these folks.  

01. Everybody's Gone
02. Best Friend
03. Ex Teeneager
04. It's Cool To Hang Out With Your Ex
05. 19 Blue
06. Should I Feel It
07. Lip Radio
08. Easy to Smile
09. In Love Again
10. Got it at the Delmar
11. American Dad
12. Radio Spiteful
13. Chicken
14. Wrong Number
15. In Different Tongues
16. Fishing at Tescos



YankeeBoy said...

I had the good fortune to see Senseless Things when they came over to the US. They put on an incredible show and were really nice guys. I also got to see Mega City 4 around the same time. They were a bit more stand-offish but also put on a great show despite their lead singer dealing with some health issues. Thanks for posting.

DiggityDawg said...

I was only aware of Mark thru his short-lived connection to The Wildhearts, but his passing inspired me to check out this album on YouTube. I liked what I heard so much that I bought it & "CV". And I just grabbed your earlier post of "Empire". Thanks.

Jim H. said...

When i first met my now wife in late 1989 here in the Boston area, one of the bands she had heard on college radio was the Mega City 4, so i investigated them, which quickly led the Senseless Things.....great band, sorry to hear of his passing....with Silver Sun's James Broad passing away last year, its been a tough time these days.........

john doe said...
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