No Pain With These Dentists

Formed in the rural Kent town of Medway in 1983 The Dentists might arguably be considered the first Brit-pop band; but when the style and sound they perfected over the course of a decade became the “Next Big Thing” in the mid 1990’s they were unable to capitalize on it.

“Their signature sound, a combination of Mick Murphy’s veddy British voice and Bob Collins’ hyperactively jangly guitar, has been duplicated many times over, but it’s never quite been equaled.”

The original line up consisted of vocalist/guitarist Mick Murphy, guitarist Bob Collins, bassist Mark Matthews, and drummer Ian Smith. Their first single, “Strawberries Are Growing in My Garden (And It’s Wintertime),” was released in 1985. Sounding as if it had been recorded in 1967 this “neo-freakbeat” masterpiece would remain the groups best-known and most beloved song for the rest of their career. The album Some People are on the Pitch They Think It’s All Over It Is Now quickly followed, along with the EP You and Your Bloody Oranges. First impressions are everything and with the album titles, and songs like “One of Our Psychedelic Beakers is Missing” and “Where’s My Chicken, You Bastard,” it made the group appear to be a ” bunch of paisley-clad goofballs” in some reviewers’ eyes, an impression that unfortunately never entirely went away.

Ian Smith left the band in 1986 and was replaced by Alan Jones. Over the next two years the group only released two EPs, Down and Out in Paris and Chatham in 1986, and Writhing on the Shagpilein 1987. The Belgian label Antler released Beer Bottle and Bannister Symphonies: A Collection of Some of the Finer Moments of Dentistry in 1988; the compilation collecting the best songs from their previous releases.The Fun Has Arrived , an EPs worth of new material was also released by Antler that same year.

Following the release of The Fun Has Arrived The Dentists literally disappeared for two years; except to contribute the track “Snapdragon” to the 1989 compilation Time Will Show the Wiser. The group reappeared in 1991 with the release of Heads and How to Read Them. Attempting to reach the American market the group released the 10″ EP Naked, and the 22 song compilation Dressed, which collected songs from 1985-1987, and contained most of Some People are on the Pitch and the best of the EPs.

Along with the reissues the group released “three thematically linked singles on three different indie labels, each with a poem by John Hegley on the B-side.” The songs, but not the poems, would end up on 1993’s U.S release of Powdered Lobster Fiasco. Later in 1993 the band signed with the American label EastWest. To establish its indie cred the label released the box set Bigbangredshiftblackholes, three 7″ singles which contained songs from the upcoming album Behind the Door I Keep the Universe, as well as, demos, rehearsal versions, and other unavailable songs.

Released in 1994 Behind the Door I Keep the Universe is one of groups best albums, but despite EastWest’s best promotional efforts the album stiffed completely. 1995’s Deep 6 was produced by noise rock maestro Wharton Tiers who layered the songs with unnecessary guitar grunge. Combined with the albums sluggish tempos and it’s no wonder that it was a commercial failure. EastWest subsequently dropped the group; Collins retired from the music business, and the rest of the group, after finding a new guitarist formed the short-lived Coax .

Selected Discography

Singles and EPs

Charms And The Girl (Independent Project Records)
Integrity Sampler (Integrity)
“Strawberries are Growing in My Garden (And It’s Wintertime)” ( Spruck Records), 1985
“You and Your Bloody Oranges” (EP) (Spruck Records), 1985
“Down and Out in Paris and Chatham” (EP) (Tambourine Records), 1986
“Writhing on the Shagpile” (EP) (Tambourine Records), 1987
“The Fun Has Arrived” (EP) (Antler Records), 1988
“Beautiful Day” (Antler Records), 1991
“House the Size of Mars” (Antler Records), 1991
“See No Evil” (Homestead Records), 1992
“Hear No Evil” (Independent Project), 1992
“Speak No Evil” (Bus Stop), 1992
“Bigbangredshiftblackholes” (boxed set of three seven-inch singles) (EastWest Records), 1993
“Appetite” CD Single (EastWest), 1995


Some People are on the Pitch They Think It’s All Over It Is Now (Spruck Records), 1985; (re-released on Rev-Ola Records), 2005
Heads and How to Read Them (Integrity Records), 1991
Powdered Lobster Fiasco (Homestead Records, 1993)
Behind the Door I Keep the Universe (EastWest Records), 1994
Deep Six (EastWest Records), 1995


Beer Bottle and Bannister Symphonies: A Collection of Some of the Finer Moments of Dentistry (Antler Records), 1988
Naked (Independent Project Records), 1991
Dressed (Homestead Records, 1992)
Ripe and Juicy: A Taste of the Elektra Entertainment Group (EastWest), 1995

Tracks Appear On

Headset One (Cass) “Strawberries Are Growing…” (Dead Man’s Curve), 1986
Integrity Collection – Fire & Grace (CD) “Beautiful Day”, “Crocodile Tears”, “In The Ocean” (Integrity), 1991
CD86 – 48 Tracks From The Birth Of Indie Pop (2xCD) “I Had An Excellent Dream” (Castle Music / Castle Communications), 2006

Dressed (Homestead Records), 1992

Playing Time: 1 hour 6 minutes 13 seconds

The Dentists - Dressed

1. Strawberries Are Growing in My Garden (and its Wintertime) (3:21)
2. She Dazzled Me With Basil (2:47)
3. I Had an Excellent Dream (3:34)
4. A Strange Way To Go About Things (3:20)
5. Chainsaw The Horse (2:58)
6. Peppermint Dreams (2:18)
7. Just Like Oliver Reed (2:13)
8. The Turquoise Castle (1:00)
9. I Can See Your House From Up Here (4:06)
10. Palino (3:44)
11. Dawn Overdone (3:15)
12. Writhing on the Shagpile (3:09)
13. Flowers Around Me (3:03)
14. I’m Not The Devil (2:54)
15. Tony Bastable vs John Noakes (2:04)
16. You Make Me Say It Somehow (2:49)
17. Mary Won’t Come Out to Play (2:53)
18. Kinder Still (3:25)
19. The Little Engineers Set (3:06)
20. Tangerine (6:32)
21. The Arrow Points to The Spot (2:49)
22. One of Our Psychedelic Beakers Is Missing (0:53)

Dressed Part 1 Dressed Part 2

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Behind the Door I Keep the Universe (EastWest Records), 1994

Playing Time: 44 minutes 23 seconds

The Dentists - Behind the Door I Keep the Universe

1. This Is Not My Flag (3:48)
2. Space Man (2:42)
3. Sorry Is Not Enough (3:56)
4. In Orbit (4:26)
5. Faces On Stone (2:45)
6. A Smile Like Oil On Water (3:51)
7. Tremendous Many (3:18)
8. Gas (3:11)
9. Brittle Sin And Flowers (4:40)
10. Apple Beast (3:13)
11. Water For A Man On Fire (3:21)
12. The Waiter (5:12)

Behind the Door I Keep the Universe

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Deep 6 (EastWest Records America) 1995

Playing Time: 1 hour 3 minutes 42 seconds

The Dentists - Deep Six

1. Shining Like A Star (2:47)
2. Slither (3:39)
3. Weirdo (at 25.000 Miles per hour) (2:43)
4. My Heart Is Like A Town You Moved Away (4:42)
5. Kick Start My Body (3:31)
6. Appetite (3:35)
7. Hedonist (4:30)
8. Not Coming Back (2:41)
9. An Agony In Twelve Fits (3:48)
10. Whole World Explode (4:27)
11. Gradual (4:44)
12. Good Riddance (4:41)
13. Orange Gold (3:16)
14. Electric Train Of Thought (5:46)
15. [untitled – silence] (5:00)
16. [untitled] (3:52)

Deep Six Part 1 Deep Six Part 2

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3 responses to “No Pain With These Dentists

  1. hi. just discovered your blog. i must say i am blown away. excellent posts.
    anyway, any chance of reposting velvet crush’s ‘in the presence of greatness’? please???

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