Fourth Drawer Down

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Fourth Drawer Down
Fourth Drawer Down cover.jpg
Compilation album by Associates
Released October 1981
Length 1:04:26 (reissue)
Label Situation Two
Associates chronology
The Affectionate Punch
(1980)The Affectionate Punch1980
Fourth Drawer Down

Fourth Drawer Down is a compilation album by Scottish band Associates, released in October 1981 by record label Situation Two. It compiles the A- and B-sides from the six singles the band released that year on the label. The album was re-issued in 2000 by V2 Records, containing five bonus tracks.


In July of 1981 the Associates appeared in Smash Hits with Billy Mackenzie announcing his plan to release ten singles over the remainder of the year.[4] His ambition was founded on a plan to use competing label money to record new material then release previously recorded material.[5] Many of the songs that appeared on Fourth Drawer Down had a notably darker and more experimental edge than The Affectionate Punch, although Mackenzie's lyrics often defied literal interpretation. An early single Tell Me Easter's on Sunday is propelled by a somber pulsing beat with a cycling mournful guitar line. The song Q Quarters - called "desolately beautiful" by Smash Hits[6] - ends with the striking lines: "Washing down bodies / Seems to me a dead-end chore / Floors me completely / Beauty drips from every pore". Washing down bodies was a job that Billy Mackenzie said his grandmother did during World War II.[7] The song Kitchen Person features a rhythm taken from an electric typewriter and Billy singing down the tube of a vacuum cleaner (an effort that earned them Single of the Week in Melody Maker).[5]

The album title had a literal origin: the fourth drawer down in a chest in the band's flat at the time contained their supply of "over the counter herbal relaxant tablets that when taken by the handful... would acts as a sleeping aid as well as producing a pleasant bedtime buzz."[5] The cover shot was taken in the swimming pool of the recording studio they used in Oxfordshire.[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
NME favourable[9]
Trouser Press generally favourable[10]
Uncut 8/10[3]

Fourth Drawer Down has been well received by critics, with reviewers commenting on the band's increased experimentalism. Uncut called it “an extraordinary document on which the sense of mystery deepens, and the commitment to sonic experiment becomes more pronounced.”[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Billy Mackenzie and Alan Rankine, except "The Associate", written by Mackenzie, Rankine and Michael Dempsey.

No. Title Length
1. "White Car in Germany" 5.28
2. "A Girl Named Property" 4.56
3. "Kitchen Person" 4.53
4. "Q Quarters" 4.55
5. "Tell Me Easter's on Friday" 4.29
6. "The Associate" 5.00
7. "Message Oblique Speech" 5.35
8. "An Even Whiter Car" 4.45


The Associates
Other personnel


  1. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2 April 2009). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. Faber & Faber. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Robbins, Ira (1983). The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records. p. 12. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c McKay, Alastair. "Review". Uncut. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Milligan, Mark (9 July 1981). "Independent Bitz". Smash Hits. Volume 3:14: p. 43. 
  5. ^ a b c d Doyle, Tom (2011). The Glamour Chase: The Maverick Life of Billy Mackenzie. Edinburgh: Polygon. 
  6. ^ Starr, Red (9 July 1981). "Single Reviews". Smash Hits. 3:14: p.40. 
  7. ^ Black, Johnny (18 March 1982). "The Art of Parties". Smash Hits. Volume 4:6: p.5. 
  8. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Fourth Drawer Down – The Associates | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Cook, Richard. "Unlimited Company". NME. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Green, Jim; Aswad, Jem. " :: Associates". Retrieved 31 July 2016. 

External links[edit]