Heavenly released four albums in the early 1990s. Skep Wax Records are going to re-issue all four of them over a two year period. Classic black vinyl. The albums will include a 7” booklet with lyrics and new sleeve notes by the members of the band.
Heavenly were one of the pioneers of indiepop. Formed from the smouldering ashes of Talulah Gosh, they took all that energy and attitude and used it to fuel catchy, infectious pop melodies. The influence of 60s girl groups was never far from the surface. This was girl-pop, but with the girls in control. Loved by many but derided as ‘twee’ by some, Heavenly ignored the increasingly macho environment of the contemporary UK scene and forged a separate path, along with other bands on the Sarah Records label. Later, having co-released their albums on K Records in Olympia, Heavenly toured the US, hooking up with bands in the embryonic riot grrrl scene. Heavenly’s quiet feminism became louder and more articulate, and the hostility of the UK music press became irrelevant.
Heavenly came to an abrupt and tragic end when drummer Mathew Fletcher took his own life in 1996. After a year’s hiatus, the group reformed as the short-lived Marine Research, before going their separate ways musically. Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey currently play in The Catenary Wires and Swansea Sound. Peter Momtchiloff plays in Would-Be-Goods and Tufthunter.
Heavenly vs Satan. The first LP. Recorded in the Oxfordshire countryside, the first Heavenly album was a bid to make a pure pop record. The punk noise of Talulah Gosh had exploded and expired. Amelia had had a go at making a disco hit (‘Can You Keep A Secret’, subsequently released on Fierce Recordings), which was fun, but wasn’t going to trouble the charts. Unbothered by critical or popular reactions, the new band decided to immerse themselves in the creation of a sweet, tuneful pop record. It’s true that the punk influences aren’t hard to discern (Mathew’s favourite band was The Ramones), but it’s Pete’s elegant guitar and Amelia’s melodies and multi-layered harmonies that win out on these recordings.
The eight-track album was released as CD, LP and cassette by Sarah Records. Subsequent versions included a Danceteria LP and cassette (France), a Quattro CD (Japan) and a CD by K Records (US). These versions included various additional tracks from early 7” releases.
The Skep Wax re-issue of Heavenly vs Satan includes Heavenly’s first two Sarah Records singles – ‘I Fell In Love Last Night/Over And Over’ and ‘Our Love Is Heavenly/Wrap My Arms Around Him’.