The Stones – Three Blind Mice
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Of the four groups featured on the influential Flying Nun release Dunedin Double from 1982, the Stones are the least well-known, barely remembered as more than a footnote. The Chills and Verlaines had long, often brilliant careers and Sneaky Feelings released at least one great album before dissolving. The Stones burned fast and bright, appearing on the EP and releasing one other single, Another Disc Another Dollar, in 1983 before breaking up. Singer Wayne Elsey then moved on to the short-lived Douplehappys, before passing away due to an tragic train accident in 1985. Three Blind Mice collects the Stones contributions to Dunedin Double, the EP and a bunch of live tracks, plus liner notes by Straightjacket Fits' Shayne Carter, who was in Doublehappys with Elsey. The studio recordings show the Stones to be firmly entrenched on the scrappy side of the Flying Nun sound, with the vocals keening over spiky guitars and choppy rhythms. Part of the reason the band formed was due to Elsey wanting to be in a band that sounded like the Clean, and their four songs from Dunedin Double certainly fit that bill, though "Surf's Up" features vocals that are too far out for the Clean and possibly anyone apart from Pere Ubu. The five songs from Another Disc Another Dollar show some growth, adding a harder edge to the sound with tougher guitars and drums on "Final Days" and stretching out to deliver an impressive eight minute track "Fab World." The numerous live tracks are rough and ready, featuring no songs recorded elsewhere and showing the band to be a tight, almost rocking, live act. The recordings are a little fidelity challenged at times, but really very clear considering how rare they are. None of the songs are lost classics, though most of them deserved to be recorded by the band and would have made the basis of a good album if they had. Consider it a minor tragedy considering what happened to Elsey later, and be glad that Flying Nun has done the laudable job of putting this important collection together and rescuing the Stones from legendary obscurity.