Is Oedipussy’s “Divan” The Great Lost Album Of The 1990s??

Sure sounds like it.

At last I have it in my hands, well, deep in my computer, its sounds emerging from speakers.  Phil Parfitt’s post-Perfect Disaster solo album, and maybe the last thing to be heard from the guy.  (Wherever he is now, he does not seem to be making music…)

Some background: The Perfect Disaster  were an interesting, sometimes thrilling late ’80s British band headed by Parfitt, with the glorious Dan Cross on lead guitar, what had to be Mo Tucker’s illegitimate son Jon Mattock on drums and, before she left for The Breeders, Josephine Wiggs on bass and vocals.  Their album Up is what got me started, especially “Time To Kill.”  They had a chugging, Velvets sound, had spent plenty of time listening to the Buzzcocks and Modern Dance-era Pere Ubu, and Parfitt was a wonderfully sneering front man, limited in vocal range, but of course that made sense, since the model was Lou Reed.  Heaven Scent came out in 1990, and to my ears was stronger than Up (though britcrits seem to prefer the former.)  It had a little less urgency than its predecessor, but by now Parfitt’s songwriting craft had more facets and dimensions, yet was more contained.  Great things seemed in store, and … poof.  They disappeared.

It was only recently that, through the miracles of the Internet, PayPal, and free trade, I got a lead on Parfitt’s 1994 solo album, Divan, put out under the band name Oedipussy.  It picks up right where Heaven Scent left off, minus Dan Cross’s canny lead guitar, but by now utilizing loops and longer song formats. British music sites refer to Divan as “the great lost album of the 1990s,” much the way Henry Badowski’s Life Is Grand is the great lost album of the 1980s. But lost, evidently, Divan isn’t.  Great, I can say on the basis of a morning’s listen, it genuinely is.  “Free” takes the same principal of found-art that Eno applied to “Help Me Somebody” and puts it on a long, loping dance riff that reminds us of “Time To Kill.” “Too Late” sounds like Luna being chased down and then run over by My Bloody Valentine. “Do It Right” has such a contemporary  swamp groove (don’t play it ’round the kids) it could be the Golden Animals.

If you think back to ’94, it was such a dull time in music, when Oasis came on the scene they were greeted like the second coming.  Too bad Oedipussy couldn’t have gotten a proper hearing.  Worse still that we don’t have Phil Parfitt around today.  Maybe he’s off with Howard Devoto recording the Great Lost of The Naughts. 

All’s I know is I’ve waited years to hear Divan, and thanks to a happy hand off from the Royal Mail to the USPS, 2009’s getting off to a great start musically, even if the source of fascination is an album that’s 15 years old.

10 Responses to “Is Oedipussy’s “Divan” The Great Lost Album Of The 1990s??”

  1. Damn right it is – absolutely spot on blog!

    Here’s my almost identical ramblings from a year or two ago also extolling the virtues of “Divan”.

  2. johnbuckley100 Says:

    Great right up, Hughie. If you learn anything about Parfitt’s whereabouts, post it. Cheers, JB

  3. Hi JB. Not managed to find Mr Parfitt himself – but here’s the myspace of his fellow guitar gunslinger Dan Cross….maybe he could help?

  4. Any chance you’d share your treasure?.
    She Believes in Me – Oedipussy Is what I’m after but
    after reading your post I wouldn’t mind any of songs on the cd.
    If your interested or willing to share, contact me at above address.
    I’ve been looking everywhere for this.

  5. johnbuckley100 Says:

    Jessica – alas, I don’t want to let it out of my clutches. However, I found it by googling Oedipussy, and found a site in the UK that had more than one. I bet you can find it.

  6. Actually I was just looking for the mp3 of the above song. A copy.

  7. phil parfitt Says:

    thank you ladies and gentlemen. I am well.its very very lovely that people appreciate my work. i’ve not stopped writing or recording since Divan, just haven’t got ruond to releasing much; I am though planning to get a new album out this year 2011. there! I’ve said it!
    one step follows another step, even when you are walking backwards;

  8. […] may remember in 2009 Tulip Frenzy posed the question of whether Parfitt’s album, Divan, which he released under the…,was the “great lost album of the 1990s.”  Some may also remember Parfitt’s […]

  9. Fraser Mac Says:

    Canny Phil Canny. Catch you soon

  10. […] then came Oedipussy, whose 1994 album Divan we called “the great lost album of post-punk British rock.”  It was more dynamic, more explicitly commercial than The Perfect Disaster, and while their (his?) […]

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