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Strawberry Switchblade

Strawberry Switchblade (named after an early unreleased Orange Juice song) were a Glasgow-based duo of Jill Bryson (vocals, guitar) and Rose McDowall (vocals, guitar), who combined a fragile, melodic pop style with a riotous visual image involving polka dot dresses, cheap bangles, frills and ribbons.

Rose was already playing the drums with another group but it was the desire to get out front and sing that encouraged her to learn the two guitar chords Jill knew, and after recruiting two girls to play bass and drums they were ready for their first gig.

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Despite having a happy pop sound, their lyrics expressed sadness. Their debut single, Trees and Flowers (1983) was written as a result of Jill’s agoraphobia.

With added studio assistance from Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera and Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford of Madness, the single reached #4 in the UK independent chart.

The duo found national success in late 1984 with the chirpy Since Yesterday and were feted by the music media.

An over-produced debut album, far removed from the simplicity of Trees and Flowers, entered the UK Top 25 but failed to provide the expected run of hit singles. Their last hit came in 1985 with a cover of the Dolly Parton classic, Joelene.

Following the break-up of the group, Rose attempted to revive her career without Jill – working under the name Candy Cane – but met with little success.

Jill Bryson
Vocals, guitar
Rose McDowall
Vocals, guitar