Norfolk indie band Stare release debut album... 20 years after recording it

Twenty years after they came agonisingly close to music stardom, Norfolk indie-rockers Stare have finally released the debut album which they recorded in 1992.

The Luxury of Anger was recorded during an exciting time for the band, when they were performing on TV, getting national radio airplay and rubbing shoulders with some of the future pop stars of the 1990s.

Despite all that, and two UK tours, Stare's profile never quite rose high enough and they were dropped by their record label before the album hit the shops – depriving their fans of the chance to hear it.

But this week the four-piece, whose members come from Norwich and Gorleston, has finally released their unheard masterpiece following a successful comeback gig at the Norwich Waterfront venue on King Street.

Founder members, vocalist Richard Hammerton, guitarist Michael 'Bruno' Brown and bassist Karl Goodbody, were joined by new drummer Paul Youngs when the band reformed last year.

In his sleeve notes, entitled The Nearly Boys from Gorleston, Mr Brown says 'technical failures, poor timing and a pinch of our own naivety' all added to the band's split in 1993, but he said he had no regrets about the experience – except that nobody got to hear the album during Stare's heyday.

'We are really pleased that people will now hear the album we wanted them to hear in 1992,' he said. 'At the time of recording, we poured our hearts into these tracks believing they really stood out against the crop of bands that were on the scene at the time. In fact people who have heard us gig recently say that we sound really current, so maybe we were ahead of our time!'

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Mr Brown, 54, now lives on Mallard Way in Bradwell near Yarmouth and works as an engineer for Syfer Technology in Arminghall, outside Norwich.

Stare's glimpse of the big time came when they won Best Demo Track of the Week for four weeks running on Gary Crowley's Greater London Radio show.

They went on to sign for Big Life records alongside artists including De La Soul, Lisa Stansfield, The Orb and Yazz, and they played live on Radio One to over 1 million listeners when Norwich was crowned BBC Sound City of the Year in 1992.

Their debut single, called Stare, appeared on ITV's Chartshow, MTV and VH1 and they played a double-header with The Verve in 1992 at London's Borderline Club. Big Life were impressed with Stare's progress and sent them to Bath for three months to record what they hoped would be their breakthrough album.

'They dropped us in 1993 and we were a bit worn out and jaded,' said Mr Brown. 'With hindsight we should have dusted ourselves off and went to another record company because we had a complete album, but we ran out of energy, so it laid dormant for all those years. It is still guitar-based indie-pop, in the vein of bands like Snow Patrol, and a lot of people hearing it now don't know that it was old, so it seems to have aged quite well.'

A review of Stare's promotional recording in 1992 rated the album at nine out of 10 and says: 'To encompass such variety but enclose it all with your own identity is the sign of a great band.'

?The Luxury of Anger was released on May 7 through Norwich-based Eastzone Records. A digital download is also available online. For more information see www.stare.uk.com.

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