"Kill Uncle" at 30: Oddball album or timeless classic? - Dickie Felton

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"Kill Uncle" at 30: Oddball album or timeless classic? - Dickie Felton

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Emotional Guide Dog

Chairman Of The Bored
It's too short to compensate for its weaknesses. Look at an album like Parklife by Blur, it's got sixteen tracks three of them are throwaway but it's got 13 others. Kill Uncle has Found Found Found and Harsh Truth of The Camera Eye and that's a fifth of the album taken care of.

The good songs are really good but the whole thing sounds rushed, a bit more quality control, some of the b-sides of the period on it and it would've been far better.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
Is that a metaphor or an actual description of how it was recorded?
Wasn't Morrissey, at least, relatively successful by the time it was recorded? (I am asking because the album is certainly poorly produced).
Not a metaphor. I'll quote the Mozipedia entry for Kill Uncle / Mark Nevin:

"Nevin regrets that Morrissey's unorthodox writing methods --keeping words and music separate, with no eye-to-eye collaboration-- prevented him from developing his tunes beyond their original rough sketches. "I'd give him a demo thinking it was a base on which to build upwards," explains Nevin, "but we never did. He just used the bones of what I gave him. There was no discussion about how we might improve the music."
 

Mike Rourke

Active Member
Kill Uncle has four great songs and three pretty good ones (and three duff). For me, that lifts it above half the solo albums. Unfortunately, people tend to only associate Mark Nevin with Kill Uncle and write him off too quickly. But he also wrote Your Arsenal stand-outs I Know It's Gonna Happen and You're Gonna Need, plus Morrissey standard I've Changed My Plea, and the delightfully understated My Love Life. I also love Tony the Pony (Nevin's favourite co-write, apparently) but I know that's a controversial view!
 
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BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
I remember being soooo disappointed by Kill Uncle when it came out. It just felt so utterly lightweight compared to the Smiths stuff and Viva Hate. (And if you'd told me in 1991 that the next two albums would have the quality of Your Arsenal and Vauxhall, I'd never have believed you: honestly believed he'd lost it, by that stage!)
 
Disagree that Felton is an 'arse' as one poster put it.

For me he's the only regular Morrissey commentator worth reading. At the very least he's been there throughout the Moz career and remembers releases in their original context.

Good read Dickie!
 

Banbury Moz Army

Active Member
Not a metaphor. I'll quote the Mozipedia entry for Kill Uncle / Mark Nevin:

"Nevin regrets that Morrissey's unorthodox writing methods --keeping words and music separate, with no eye-to-eye collaboration-- prevented him from developing his tunes beyond their original rough sketches. "I'd give him a demo thinking it was a base on which to build upwards," explains Nevin, "but we never did. He just used the bones of what I gave him. There was no discussion about how we might improve the music."
sure I read somewhere Moz was posting some tapes and bumped into him at the mail box 😂
 
B

BetweenTheirLegs

Guest
It was completely strange and at odds with everything when it was released and really is so strange today. Sing Your Life was not the greatest single but certainly came to life on stage.

The ultimate test of any album's true value is whether it gets played and Kill Uncle has certainly been in regular rotation for myself all these years. I cannot count the number of times I have had the urge to hear Morrissey and seconds later have Our Frank blaring from the speakers. Always a joy.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Morrissey /Marr was a match made in Heaven on Kings Road 304...as for his solo albums, I always liked and still like Alain Whyte, he's no Johnny Marr, but a great Lad who made good songs with Morrissey, same counts for Boz for songs...Alain just always was more into it at live gigs. Viva Kill Uncle and I.
384
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
This album has some great songs,
And some not so great....
Harsh truth ...
Driving your....
Last of the family line should be avoided at all costs,
But the rest are very underrated...
I love Driving Your Girlfriend Home. I'm not a big fan of Found found found. The biggest let down on the album is the arrangement/production. To the average listener it is a gentle snooze fest. A Moz fan will invest the effort to listen to it properly but it needed a different producer to give it a kick of life with some electric jolts. Moz should have waited until he had My Love Life and I've Changed My Plea ready and included them on Kill Uncle. And got Stephen Street to produce it.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
opinions vary. But I’m thinking a lot of older fans may agree with you.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a younger person would choose say, Spent The Day In Bed over Sing Your Life though.
I bought Kill Uncle for my brother when it was released and I'll never forget our bitter disappointment listening to it. It was so slight and tame and Moz sounded defeated and worn out. Over the years I appreciate it more but at the time our reaction was 'how did he go from Viva Hate to this?'. Later we heard the live version of There Is A Place In Hell and realised how the lethargic Kill Uncle just needed a less subdued production.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
I’ve got it on now and I will reevaluate my outrageous slur on your fave songs....
Can’t believe it’s been 30 years..
I’m trying for the life of me to remember where I bought it...
The grey matter is all but a splatter🥴
Kill Uncle vinyl reissue on grey matter splatter. I love it!
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
best touring album for sure. songs from this album are so great live.
I think Your Arsenal was his best touring album, although I did go to a Kill Uncle concert and it was amazing, the highlight being when I heard My Love Life for the first time (it hadn't been released yet at that point).
 
C

carlislebaz

Guest
I bought Kill Uncle for my brother when it was released and I'll never forget our bitter disappointment listening to it. It was so slight and tame and Moz sounded defeated and worn out. Over the years I appreciate it more but at the time our reaction was 'how did he go from Viva Hate to this?'. Later we heard the live version of There Is A Place In Hell and realised how the lethargic Kill Uncle just needed a less subdued production.
Agree with the above...
Also with this album , this was the start of his singles not going top ten, or twenty...
I can also remember a lack of radio play as well..
All this said he then went to America and kicked arse with that tour, playing songs from kill uncle.
 

skull

Active Member
I sometimes wonder what Kill Uncle would have sounded like if it had been recorded properly and not simply a series of studio overdubs on what were essentially demos. In a perfect world, "Sing Your Life" would be a standard akin to "My Way" or something.
Instead of wasting time with covers, it would be wonderful if he recorded an updated version of these songs! I've always felt that what ruins them is the production, otherwise they could be great.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Kill uncle is a kin materpiece compared to world piece and low in high school......utter utter dross.
I really liked World Peace, Low In High School, and I Am Not A Dog On A Chain. Ok they are not Quarry or Your Arsenal or Vauxhall quality but I find them very listenable and full of life.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Instead of wasting time with covers, it would be wonderful if he recorded an updated version of these songs! I've always felt that what ruins them is the production, otherwise they could be great.
I'd love a triple album accoustic/unplugged/alternate versions of Moz classics.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
KU appeared to enter a BBC Bermuda Triangle.
Looking at the list of Morrissey songs championed by John Peel via his show - many tracks prior and after 91 feature, but zero from KU.
My diary tells me I liked it when listening to it the first time.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
I was obsessed with Kill Uncle when it was released. I was 14 (the weird fact is that I was a long.time fan by then!).

You are right. I love the new albums, but the albums that got released when I was a teen will always bring memories and it would be impossible for me to think that the new songs are better (but this is true for absolutely all the artists I used to listen and who are still recording).

Of course, Morrissey can't magically make me remember listening to Spent the Day in Bed when I was 14; so it is different.



Is that a metaphor or an actual description of how it was recorded?
Wasn't Morrissey, at least, relatively successful by the time it was recorded? (I am asking because the album is certainly poorly produced).

The music of Kill Uncle sounds extremely flat, without depth (I do not mean that it's not "deep", I mean acoustically... as if the lows and the highs were simply not there) and the sound is surprisingly "clean". The music sounds as if it was the soundtrack of a retro sci-fi movie, somehow ethereal. No other album by him has that sound (whilst the singing styles are very different, the only artist I can think who insists on using that strange sound is Peter Murphy -without bauhaus).

Anyway, I like a lot the strange sound of Kill Uncle....

My funny memory about the album is that I had a T-Shirt with the cover (minus the heaven, just Morrissey). I went to see The Exploited wearing that T-shirt and I remember a lot of punks insulting me and feeling pissed off (because it was a "pop T-shirt"); but I did it on purpose just to have fun.

Yeah, I just think folks should keep in mind why songs/albums that caught their attention at a certain time in their lives means so much to them and why more recent music even by the same artist might not now have the same effect on them and it’s not always the art that (we hope should) change, but that we also change and what a song or artist means to one now might not have the same impact as it/they once did, they expect it to, and so they set themselves up to be disappointed.

I don’t think his early work is better or worse than his recent work, it is
simply different, and I could enjoy one or the other depending on my mood and what I feel I may need at that moment.

Sometimes the sound of the Smiths are a drag, too much emotional baggage tied to it, but I still want to hear his voice and something a little more to the point to get me going, so I’ll reach for IANADOAC instead.
 

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