Much of this review will probably turn out to be a rant about Fierce Panda Records, so I'll offer a quick summary first: Green Eyeliner is great, although this isn't my favourite recording of the song, and Harum Scarum is a very likeable instrumental piece.
We'll start with lack of attention this single got from its label, from Fierce Panda's own mailing list entry that turned up yesterday (1st September):
It's been a few weeks since our last missive, and a few hectic weeks chocful of holidays, small children, festivals, gigs and estate agents they've been too. Still, we can see a wee bit clearer now summer is sloping to a close, and through the indie haze we can spy that we rather recklessly neglected to tell you about this:
THE HOT PUPPIES 'Green Eyeliner' / 'Harum Scarum' (catalogue number NING 185). Pups fanatics will already have the original 'Green Eyeliner' CD single from a couple of years back. Newcomers to the Puppies fold however will be tickled,well,green by this strictly limited 7" and download release which snuck out on the panda on August 14th (ooops!)
Yeah. Second is that at time of writing, the "download release" doesn't seem to exist — it's not on iTunes or anywhere else I can spot. In fact, if you look at the band's Myspace page and homepage, this whole "re-release Green Eyeliner" lark doesn't seem to have been mentioned to them at all... but there are reviews of it in the usual places, such as on the BBC music site. And there are still CDR promos appearing on eBay that claim the single will be released on September 25th.
All of which does nothing to persuade me that Fierce Panda are competent, if handing their mailing list to spammers wasn't enough to lay that question to rest.
So, we have a 7" that I couldn't play if I wanted to, and a possible forthcoming wider release in about three weeks. So how am I reviewing this? Well, Green Eyeliner is the version re-recorded for the recent (excellent) first Puppies album, and a short lo-fi preview of Harum Scarum can be found at this online store selling the vinyl — enough to know that I've heard the track; it's a very pleasant composition that the band have had around and used as a gig closer since at least May 2004.
In the absence of a download or CD to be purchased, here's something you may be interested in: live versions of Green Eyeliner and Harum Scarum from a gig in Aber, courtesy of a friend. The quality's quite rough, and the Rapidshare link will die after a month if no-one downloads it, but that should be enough time to ascertain if a wider release will follow the seven-inch.
Back to the music, eh? Green Eyeliner first appeared on Purr Records a couple of years ago, backed by A Small Killing (On This Day) and All We've Got To Do Is Kiss — and I highly recommend tracking down a copy of that release. It's a bit more 'rock' than the version re-recorded for the album, plus it has two great b-sides.
Harum Scarum is, as mentioned, without lyrics (although there are some vocal parts) and is an opportunity to listen to some theremin, an unusual retro instrument that's right at home with the band's eclectic sensibilities. (Check out the Wikipedia entry on theremins — they're difficult to control, but in capable hands the sound is fascinating.) Whilst perhaps not the most essential Puppies track, it's worth giving a listen if you can.
In summary... with a little detective work, I'm less annoyed than I would usually be at a vinyl-only release. If you're the sort who likes wearing out items from their music shelf by dragging a needle across them, or Fierce Panda get their act together on the download release, go ahead and add Harum Scarum to your Hot Puppies collection.
Note from the future: the single has now been added to the iTunes Store.
GREEN EYELINERYou didn't come here on your own To be leaving on your own And you don't wear that cologne With the intention of leaving on your own I hear your wife's good-looking I hear your kids are loving I hear that love and god Couldn't save you from a girl With green eye-liner on CHORUS: Green eye-liner I got green eye-liner on Green eye-liner I got green eye-liner on You did didn't come here on your own To be who you are at home The way you're soaked in that cologne How can you wonder why you're sitting on your own And do you wanna dance to this song Or find somebody who'll cry on your clothes When you're gone Let me just put my green eye-liner on
All lyrics are, naturally, copyright the band.