Earworm (n.): a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a song stuck in one's head, particularly an annoying one. Use of the English translation was introduced by James Kellaris, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati. His studies appeared to demonstrate that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another.
Some sufferers from earworm prefer the term "repetunitis" or, if sufficiently acute, "melodymania."

Sometimes there's literally no basis for a song getting stuck in your head. Or so it seems. Yesterday I wound up humming 'Sunshine Girl' by The Yo-Yo's, a track I had mild affection for sometime around the summer of 2000. In fact, it was the summer of 2000: I purchased this record in HMV on Princes Street, Edinburgh in a respite from the rain that was to dampen (get it?) my enthusiasm for what's undoubtedly a beautiful city. I was a big Wildhearts fan; I've admitted more embarrassing things, I'm not ashamed of this. The Wildhearts were the best rock group of the nineties and it since transpires that due to my skinflint, C90 hoarding approach to music at the time, I only have one Wildhearts CD, a copy of the Sick Of Drugs single complete with growable grass mat (I never have), and so I can't really post any of the tracks I'd like to.

Anyway, The Yo-Yo's were Danny McCormack's offshoot band. Neither as glam as Silver Ginger 5, nor as plain bonkers as Clam Abuse (I had that too, and was at the linked gig), without the glossy sheen of Honeycrack or the Top Of The Pops-featuring Senseless Things, and certainly without the critical success of brother Chris' 3 Colours Red, the band were nonetheless probably the best spinoff after the inevitable implosion of the Wildhearts circa 1998. As far as I'm aware (my attention slipped towards NoFX and their Fat Wreck styled buddies shortly after this), Uppers & Downers, on SubPop no less, was the Yo-Yo's only album, and much neglected it is too (as I just discovered, it's not, but this fact passed me by). McCormack was to soon return to the Wildhearts fold (this was one of the most rigidly enforced stipulations from Ginger precluding the reformation), once he'd been certified clear of said uppers and downers - as a band, the Wildhearts were not exactly shy of requiring outside influences to function fully, although the ever elegantly wasted McCormack was tentatively clean by this record.

As befits a band pictured on the cover resplendent in leather jackets and brylcreemed pompadours, only twice do the songs broach three minutes thirty, and each is laced with not only a street-punk bruiser of a riff, but a tremendous pop sensibility that keeps the backing vocals more of a hey! than an oi!; one that creates said earworms without even trying. Sunshine Girl is probably the pinnacle of pop on this album, all do-do's and "you're my sunshine girl"s, a summery burst to go not with Edinburgh's grey skies but with the blue that followed up until a storming show at Portsmouth's Wedgewood Rooms, co-headlining with the awesome Groop Dogdrill, in the autumn of that year. I was there with Nathan and B., two tatto-and-leopard-skin wannabes if ever I saw them, but at least one of them being my bestest mate. The Hives were the opening act, if you want an 'I Was There' moment, and yep: as good a live band as you'll see, even before a disinterested crowd. Howlin' Pelle leapt across the stage to ask me where we were, I had to say pardon; when the answer finally came, I instantly regretted it - Cleveland would've been so much cooler to say than Portsmouth. We chatted with Nicholas Arson, since revealed to be the mysterious svengali Randy Fitgerald.

I rued the day where I forewent a Yo-Yo's gig supporting Therapy?, I put it down to the foolishness of youth.

None of which explains why I had Sunshine Girl in my head yesterday, chances are the fact that there was actual sunshine outside caught me unawares.

In addition to the aforementioned Sunshine Girl, which isn't really the best track on Uppers & Downers, I present 'Rumbled(d)', a dirty, lowslung riff if ever there was one, and 'Head Over Heels', a breezy paean to falling in love which, given it was summer at the time, I probably related to a lot at the time. You can still buy Uppers & Downers, no doubt, should you want to: if you need an incentive, Pitchfork slated it which to me is a mark of quality that only an ambassador's party can usually provide.

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