The duo of Columbo were one of the quirkier, funkier things to come out of the commercial success phase of big beat indie pop in the late ‘90s. With a video starring legendary (and anachronistic) TV celebrity Lionel Blair, the “Rockabilly Bob” single could’ve been massive. But back in the days when your first single had to be a smash hit otherwise you were dropped, it somehow failed to hit the mark, second single “Made In The UK” (which was even stronger) was quietly parked without promotion. The planned album was shelved and Columbo disappeared- although the two members, Jules Bromley and Rajan Datar, have had successful careers since.
In 2016 a casual inquiry and a randomly fired-off email from one of the people behind the small Banoffeesound label managed to unearth the fact that an album was buried under all the dust. It was exhumed, remastered and released, and the album “We Know Who You Are” was unleashed on the public, just sixteen years late. Sadly, it too managed to not roll the right number on the dice to get wide attention.
This Bad Behaviour EP is a mopping up of some leftover tracks that were remastered as part of that process, but not released as part of the 2016 bundle. They’ve been slipped out as the sixth installment in Banoffeesound’s gloriously inconsistent 2020 Singles Club series, where they put out a release each month for the year- a conceit planned, it happens, before lockdown came along and changed everything.
Finally getting to the point- this is brilliant jazzy pop music, that got seriously overlooked back in the day. Bad Behaviour showcases Bromley’s indie-tinged vocals over a rolling pop beat that in its alternative mix, subtly different from the album version, emphasises the more Propellerheads-ish elements. Twangy guitar melody lines are catchy as hell, and a slight bitterness in the vocals plays nicely against the cheery, almost party-like music vibe.
The track is backed by previously unreleased instrumental versions of the two back-in-the-day singles “Rockabilly Bob” and “Made In The UK”. These really showcase the big-budget production quality. “Made In The UK”’s brass is glorious. If only “Match Of The Day” had picked up on the perfect match these might have made with their goal-of-the-month montages, it might have been a different ballgame (but, erm, still football).
It’s Banoffeesound’s final attempt (unless they can unearth any more) to draw attention to an isolated and wrongly abandoned bit of former pop glory. This is indie-pop at its best.