Alpinestars – Burning Up

13th February 2022 · 2000s, 2002, Music

This emotionally powerful song about addiction is the highlight of the brief moment in the spotlight for Manchester duo Alpinestars in 2002.

There are two kinds of song about addiction. The ones that wear their drug on their sleeve (Heroin, Cocaine, White Lines).

And the ones couched in metaphor (Perfect Day, Golden Brown, There She Goes). This is one of those.

With its minimalist melody, a moody video, and a melancholy lyric metaphorically mining the pain of addiction, it packs a powerful emotional punch.

“It’s based around a few things: giving up an addiction to weed for one,” says singer Glyn Thomas. “But the thing really is about how addiction makes you feel claustrophobic.

“That can be warm and comforting up to the point of realisation that you are wasting everything important to you. Hence the starkness of everything in the music.”

And the imagery in the video of the oppressed breaking free.

A largely forgotten footnote in music history, Alpinestars burned brightly for a moment around the turn of the millennium and faded away almost as fast.

The Manchester duo of Richard Woolgar and Glyn Thomas had come together in the mid-Nineties as an eletronic duo called Maxim.

Naming themselves after Glyn’s mountain bike, Alpinestars came into being when the promoters of a local club challenged the pair to compose an hour’s worth of music.

Their performance, channelling New Order and Depeche Mode and initially planned as a one-off event, was enough of a success for Alpinestars to become an ongoing concern.

They released an EP, Less Vegas, in 1999, and within a year they issued two more, Silicon Chick and Kitzbuhel Weekend, leading up to their debut album, B.A.S.I.C. (aka Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) in early 2001.

In mid-2002, they released the follow-up, White Noise, from which this was released as a 12-inch single (with various remixes). Snce then… nothing.