1979, things were going well for James A. Smith, musically speaking. He was writing prolifically, getting encouragement from his contemporaries - namely, his friend Robyn Hitchcock of The Soft Boys — and his band, The Containers, had recorded some promising demos and were playing regular live gigs. But, by January of 1980, The Containers disbanded suddenly, and James was on his own. “Sod it!” he thought, and, rather than waste time lamenting the situation, he plotted a new course as a solo artist. Armed only with his guitar, a drum machine and his flatmate’s girlfriend, Jill Fricker, to sing backup vocals, James forged ahead with his new project: The Beach Bullies.
The Beach Bullies somehow manage to sound simultaneously classic and exceptionally ahead of their time. Fans of kindred spirits from the same era, such as The Television Personalities, Young Marble Giants, and yes, The Soft Boys, will find much to admire in The Beach Bullies. On the other hand, their alternating vocals, stripped-down aesthetic and minimal arrangements will also appeal to fans of artists who would emerge much later, such as The Vaselines, The Pastels, Shop Assistants and Small Factory.