Manchester band The Mock Turtles were together for nearly four years before they signed to Siren/Virgin in 1991, releasing two EPs and an album, Turtle Soup, on the local indie label Imaginary.
The band evolved from Manchester’s Judge Happiness back in the mid-80s. Featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist Martin Coogan, (brother of Alan Partridge comedian, Steve Coogan) they had several single releases to their name by the time their success peaked at the height of the so-called Madchester scene in the early 90s.
The band’s first 12-inch EP Pomona was issued in 1987. Guitarist Martin Glyn Murray joined the band in time for The Wicker Man followed by And Then She Smiles. But it was their next single, Lay Me Down (1990) which hinted at bigger things.
Their well-received debut album Turtle Soup was released in June 1990 and fared well on the independent chart, as did the band’s collaboration with one of Coogan’s long-time influences, Bill Nelson, Take Your Time.
For their first major-label single with Siren they reworked the flipside to Lay Me Down – a song called Can You Dig It? which was an instant hit with Top Of The Pops appearances to match.
The group appropriated lots of the best bits of the trippy ’60s – lush Californian harmonies, wobbly organ parts and guitars that sound as though they’re being played at the bottom of a swimming pool – and gave them a kick in the ’90s with scampering dance beats, samples and other such sonic mod cons.
The result occasionally resembled a pastoral, soft-edged version of their Mancunian neighbours, The Stone Roses.
Martin Glyn Murray