Reviewing Heavenly‘s 1992 album Le Jardin de Heavenly is more than reviewing a piece of indiepop history – it’s essentially reviewing the whole concept of indiepop. Set ridiculously high expectations of myself, me … ? Nonsense!

“I’ll force out a smile – a smile that hates the things you do”

This Skep Wax reissue (out today), and the new video for ‘C is The Heavenly Option’, are timed to precede two reunion shows on 19 and 20 May at Bush Hall in London (tickets here).

Heavenly felt they’d ‘had a good run’, and stopped when founding member Matthew Fletcher died by suicide in 1996. It’s a lovely touch that £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to Grassroots Suicide Prevention. While various members have been performing in the intervening years in Tender Trap, Catenary Wires, and Swansea Sound (amongst others), they’ve never felt the time was right to bring back Heavenly, until now. But the world needs indiepop in 2023 more than ever, and I’m bloody glad they agree.

Anyone remembering Heavenly and Amelia Fletcher only for reclaiming ‘twee’ is missing a trick and doing them a disservice. Forerunners in DIY, jangly, often anthemic pop tunes with a melancholy and frequently bitter heart to them, Heavenly were a huge part of something new that still feels joyful 30 years later.

Proper indiepop – and Heavenly are the properest – wants to include you. It wants to make you feel good about feeling shit, and remind you of the restorative power of drinking cider in plastic cups in the rain wearing an anorak. It doesn’t matter that the anorak you wore in the 90s was from the kids’ range in Woolworths and now you’re just wearing clothes belonging to your own children, indiepop still has you in its heart. And while it hasn’t always been the most diverse of scenes, various all-dayer festivals have been leading the way by hosting the stalwarts alongside newer and different acts, including Chemtrails and Lilith Ai. There’s a place for everyone, and Heavenly have influenced just about all of it in some way.

Le Jardin de Heavenly opens quietly and sunnily with ‘Starshy’, but quickly wakes you up from the daydream it’s induced with ‘Tool’. From then on in, it bounces back and forth between energetic and more reflective tracks, but keeps its movement consistently – it’s not easy to write with it on! The new video epitomises the DIY ethos of Heavenly and of the whole indiepop caboodle.

The album is more than worth revisiting with fresh ears for anyone who’s heard it before; and for those of you who haven’t – welcome in.