7 inch CHS2750
(I've included the back of the cover so you get a decent picture of the band)
Having picked up a fair bit of airplay for the debut Get Out Of London but sold sod all copies, the commercially smart thing to do would be to put out another record with the same energy and sound, but different hooks.
But not Intaferon. They went back into the studio and recorded Steamhammer Sam.
They kept the principle of their first single - to merge disparate threads of musical styles into something intriguing, catchy and contemporarily relevant - but stylistically it's another world.
Where Get Out Of London's lyrics were a ratatat of paranoid imagery, Steamhammer Sam is a straightforward narrative story.
It was 1983, Thatcher's talons were tearing deep into the social fabric of the UK, and mass unemployment was a prime symptom. Steamhammer Sam was a topical story of a man who'd worked his whole life in heavy industry, got made redundant and became hopeless, directionless and alcoholic, ending his days alone in prison. Cheery surefire radio-friendly hit there.
Musically, the electropunk drive of Get Out Of London is nowhere to be seen, as Steamhammer Sam is driven by a piano-based sort of rhythm that could be termed The Madness Two-Step, the kind of thing that provides tha basis for tracks like The Size Of A Cow by The Wonder Stuff, or Grimly Fiendish by The Damned.
There are snatches of Glam Rock guitar (as I've said elsewhere, by 'Glam Rock' I mean the 70s stuff, not 80s poodle-metal), but the peculiarity really kicks in with the addition of a full colliery style brass band, and towards the end a choir of children do a sprightly singalong chorus, in stark contrast to the mood of the lyric.
As if to underline the bizarrity, the B-side is The Continuing Story of Steamhammer Sam, an instrumental version played entirely by that brass band.
The 7 inch came shrinkwrapped with a free 3-track cassette and sticker. I still have the sticker, but the cassette disappeared years ago and I can't even remember what was on it. It must've contained something not on the Get Out Of London and Steamhammer Sam singles, though.
As with its predecsssor, the single sold next to nothing, and after the subsequent Baby Pain they were never heard of again.
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