Considering the sheer scale of its influence, it's pretty impressive that The La's self-titled debut album is the only full length record they ever released.
In fact, if frontman Lee Mavers had his way, it probably never would've come out at all. Perfectionist to a fault, he refused to sign off on the album until he was happy with it. Eventually his label got sick of waiting and just released it. Harsh? Maybe. But it had been tinkered with for three years by its release in October 1990.
And, on balance, it's a good thing that the album came out. It's a terse, feisty little record, with a snarl and bite that belies the harmlessly jangling guitar pop that draws you in at first. A dark abyss lurking behind an innocent facade, like a candy floss stand at the funfair that turns out to be a front for an organised crime money-laundering operation.
This tension is found at the very heart of the album's most famous song. It may even be one of the most famous songs on any album. It's the only song that you'd find your mum humming along to on Magic FM which is probably about shooting heroin: There She Goes.
There She Goes undoubtedly owes a lot of its fame to the charming simplicity of its chord progression. The infectious melody that mainlines right into your brain and nestles there for days. It's addictive.
And it's pervasive, too. It has almost become a cliche film and TV trope, playing over a seemingly endless loop of sun-drenched soft focus shots in saccharine films of the 1990's (A trope subverted by the wonderful series This Is England, which set the song to newsreel footage depicting social collapse at the end of Margaret Thatcher's tenure).
The song has been covered countless times, too, by artists like the Wombats, Robbie Williams, and the Boo Radleys (remember this one, it'll be important later.) Perhaps the most egregious of all is Sixpence None The Richer's version, which captured all of the jangle and none of the menace, and which has gone on to be used in – horror of horrors – adverts for pharmaceutical products.
So how did The La's build on the success of this mega-hit?