Of such stuff are cult legends made. He's nearly 40, his name is Shirley, he's been writing cracking pop records for ages and his band have only played outside London once ...

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Endless Soul

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Endless Soul

OF SUCH STUFF ARE CULT legends made. He’s nearly 40, his name is Shirley, he’s been writing cracking pop records for ages and his band have only played outside London once.

While Shirley Lee and Spearmint have been slurping from the fuzzy end of pop’s lolly stick for a while now, it has allowed them time to assemble this compilation of seven-inch single tracks which, like the Pacer mints of our youth, are chewy, refreshing and have been unavailable for years.

As ‘Songs For The Colour Yellow’ shows, Spearmint’s is a remarkably straightforward vision which incorporates elements of the glorious past (Scritti Politti, Orange Juice), has cross references with the present (Pulp, Kenickie) but contains a vibrancy and clarity of its own. That such glorious cinematic rushes as ‘A Bench In The Park’, ‘The Other Seven’ and ‘Scared Of Everything’ have been relegated to flipsides in the past is testimony to Spearmint’s kaleidoscopic bursts of melodic glory.

Of course you shouldn’t rest on your laurels until you’ve got laurels to rest on, but with their last two singles, ‘A Trip Into Space’ and the stunning ‘Sweeping The Nation’ (neither, strangely, included here) having caused encouraging flickers on the musical radar, Spearmint have earned this short break to take stock.

Which leaves the rest of us to ponder why, with such a wealth of talents at their command, no major label has taken up their cause. They signed The Supernaturals instead. Go figure.