I can’t even begin to remember how I found the Campers – they didn’t have any hits, I doubt they were played on radio, they wouldn’t have been big in Melody Maker or any of the other UK music press that I read religiously – but this album was just perfect. Don’t take my word for it, you can hear the whole thing here, and I suggest you do. I’ll wait.
See? I told you it was good.
I don’t really know why a major decided to give them a budget to make an album, and I don’t know how a band of scruffy surf punks ended up making something with this much ambition, but I’m really glad they did. Because Stinky will always revert back to Take The Skinheads Bowling or Where The Hell is Bill? from the older albums, or even Pictures of Matchstick Men from the later one when we inevitably reminisce about what a great band the Campers were, but for me it’s always this album, because I’ve played it hundreds of times and it’s just locked in my head.
I think it’s the woozy brass section wound through it: it’s certainly why I was struggling to pick between this or Turquoise Jewelry (“take off that jumpsuit, you look like Grace Slick”), or the psych out of She Divines Water, or the words to live by closer Life Is Grand. But no, I’ll stick with Fatima, because whether I hear it in London or Bristol or Bagnacavallo or New York or even good old Double Bay, it makes me smile (“this here’s a government experiment and we’re driving like hell / to give some cowboys some acid, and to stay in motels”) at the memory of listening to it at all of those other places too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51PP8TwXrxE