Unspun Heroes – Urusei Yatsura, ‘Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura’

Ash Dosanjh heaves a sigh over the last hurrah of her Scottish indie darlings

It’s said that laughter is the best medicine: it soothes by bringing insight and tolerance. Adding irony into the prescription merely brings a deeper, if less friendly understanding, a more bracing cure. No-one knew this better than Urusei Yatsura.

Once upon a time they were endorsed by the late, great John Peel for their naive and energetic indie-pop. Their early records were awash with cutesy lo-fi sci-fi; teenage angst wrapped in the hearty embrace of shimmering pop. It was fleeting. It was danceable. And above all it was knowing fun.

But eight years’ worth of slogging in toilet-bowl venues, label troubles and waxing and waning media appreciation can take its toll on witty spirits – even with a band with a heart as big as this lot.

With their third and final album in 2000 the Glasgow four-piece threw irony to the wind. They called their swansong ‘Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura’, knowing full well it was far from the truth – well, almost.

This fuzz-pop gem may not have carried with it impossibly adorable singles such as ‘Kewpies Like Watermelon’ and ‘Hello Tiger’ but it was an impressive move away from the itchy kitsch of their former albums that saw them entering a phase in their musical career that was endlessly, if vainly, hopeful.

Not that ‘Everybody…’ was without a sense of humour. The CD version of ‘Thank You’, once played on a computer, carried with it the coded message “Hail Satan. Lick his cloven hoof”.

From the thunderous distortion of opener ‘Louche 33’, to the promise offered in the delicate twinkles of ‘Eastern Youth’; from the angsty ‘Faking It’ to the laconic slacker-generation essential ‘Superdeformer’, ‘Everybody…’ was an album that was leading indie music of the time to its experimental limits.

There’s that other saying that fortune favours the brave. Had Urusei Yatsura been that little bit bolder back in 2001 and kept on going, who knows what else they might have achieved…