The original line-up of The Flatmates came together in 1985 and quickly became one of the key bands of the C86 era. Back when there was such a thing as a meaningful indie singles chart, The Flatmates recorded six singles within a two-year period and every one reached the top twenty. Now, guitarist Martin Whitehead has reformed the band with original drummer Rocker on keyboards and three new members and they've got a new single out, 'You Held My Heart', which you can catch, among other places, at the end of my September show on Dandelion Radio, streaming at various times throughout the month at www.dandelionradio.com.
It’s fitting that the band should choose to reform now, with indie pop enjoying somewhat of a renaissance and so many cracking young bands around paying undisputed homage to The Flatmates and their C86 brethren. At my recent foray to the Green Man Festival, among the many and varied delights on offer, by far the most exciting new discovery for me were the Argentinian three-piece Los Cripis, who belt out their own loud variety of old school indie with a deliriously infectious energy. And they certainly aren't the only ones doing it.
It may be felt that, in returning to take their place among so many perky young offspring of the music they brought so much early life to, The Flatmates might run the risk of appearing mere tired old folk, like the embarrassing dads and mums who wreck the kids’ party by dancing like chickens. Any such doubts are dispelled with one hearing to the new single, which comes out via three separate labels, no less: the band's original Subway Organisation imprint, Rocker's Local Underground and Archdeacon of Pop. It's a sublime piece of indie pop, written by new vocalist Lisa Bouvier, and backed by a Whitehead composition, 'One Last Kiss'.
Band reformations can, it’s true, be a hit or miss affair, but The Flatmates have returned to the party with a bang in the form of a cracking release that ensures the wave of bands they helped inspire welcome them not as mere godparents who deserve respect for what they did almost three decades ago, but as a force that remains as productive and as stimulating as it ever was.