Sombrero Fallout was Pump’s second album (or seventh if you counted their cassette output as MFH). It was due to be released in 1993 but for inexplicable reasons it never happened. It’s surprising if gratifying, then, that it should finally see the light of day 17 years later. But first some history.
Pump were Andrew Cox and David Elliott. They met in 1979 in Brighton on the first day of the first year at university, living on the same campus corridor and discovering a shared passion for leftfield music, much of which happened to be German or electronic or both. Another quick realization was that they were not model students. David started a radio show and a magazine (Neumusik), a group was formed (MFH) and a cassette label initiated (YHR).
Over the next three years MFH released five cassette albums – First Move (1980), Within 30 Miles (1980), Masks (1980), Ground Zero (1981) and Head (1982) – all on the YHR label, and played a handful of gigs, sometimes to an audience. The music was spontaneous (usually recorded live), raw and definitely odd, with a nod to the German scene, Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire from the UK, and the heinously overlooked Heldon from France.
During the mid-80s, with Andrew in Cornwall and David newly arrived in London, playing and recording together was sporadic to put it mildly. A track appeared on Dave Henderson’s semi-legendary Elephant Table Album (1983) as well as numerous other cassette compilations. A support slot at the Hammersmith Clarendon showed they were still as unprofessional as ever. Meanwhile David joined the two other Davids (Henderson and Tibet) at Sounds, each battling to review the weirdest, most obscure band possible. It was perhaps not coincidental that the once great music weekly folded a few years later.
In 1986 Andrew moved to within commuting distance of London and as a result the pair started recording on a more regular basis. MFH became Pump. Material was amassed and out came The Decoration of the Duma Continues (1987) on Final Image. The music was a strange mixture, ranging from – as Melody Maker put it – “the clanging and abrasion of rusted and misaligned gears and ratchets” to “the pealing of bells heard in a delirium”. Whatever, it didn’t make the Top 20.
Other bits and pieces followed although, as the pair had ‘respectable’ day jobs (Andrew a computer programmer, David an arts manager), the gaps between the bits and the pieces became somewhat lengthy. Some concerts were played to promote the album, including an appearance at the UK Electronica Festival in Stafford and a support slot to Danielle Dax in London. A track appeared on a BBC documentary about trains. And work began on the ‘difficult second album’.
Sombrero Fallout was recorded in various locations and mixed by Colin Potter at ICR. It was due to be released by Trident Music International in 1993 but for unfathomable reasons it never happened. A pity, as it was a more mature, consistent album than Decoration... The rest of the 90s saw the duo drift apart as day jobs took precedence, with David’s move to Japan effectively signaling Pump’s demise.
Fast forward to 2009 and Andrew’s tragic death, the result of a long battle with alcoholism. For those who knew him, we will miss his intelligence, wit and creativity… Strangely it coincided with renewed interest in the early 80s cassette culture, MFH and the fact that Sombrero Fallout never got the release it deserved. Plague Recordings stepped in and here it is. It’s for everyone out there, but really it’s for Andrew.
Includes immediate download of 9-track album in the high-quality format of your choice (MP3, FLAC, and more), plus unlimited mobile access using the free Bandcamp listening app.