Various Artists - Scared To Get Happy: A Story Of Indie-Pop '80-'89

by Alexander Segall Rating:7.5 Release Date:2013-06-24

Cherry Red have released a huge, sprawling retrospective of one of the 20th century's most maligned decades, the 80s - where you might have seen Top of the Pops full of OMD, Eurythmics and MTV heaving to the sounds of Madonna and Run DMC. Meanwhile, all over Britain, men and women with messy hair and jangly guitars were reacting to the anger of punk and the depression of post-punk with indie-pop.

This five-disc set spans a decade, and the artists run from the particularly famous (Pulp, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, James, Jesus and Mary Chain) via the cool-influence (Josef K, Prefab Sprout, Del Amitri, The Primitives) down to the frankly if-you-weren't-their-mum-you-wouldn't-know (We've Got a Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It!, Trixie's Big Red Motorbike). What they all have in common is a very British sensibility - while this country can make the epic (from Led Zeppelin, to The Clash, to Muse), we don't do widescreen like the Americans. What we can do is home in on the joys of everyday life, and we've been doing it from music hall to Elbow, via The Kinks (sonic touchstones here - you can hear a lot of Ray Davies in, for instance, The Monochrome Set's 'The Jet Set Junta', or 'She Dazzled Me With Basil' by The Dentists).

All throughout this compilation runs a sunny feeling - not a bright Mediterranean sun, mind you, but a slightly grubby sun, probably peeking out from behind a Manchester cloud. Weekend's 'Summer Days' is a case in point: with woozy horns, Alison Statton sings of light breezes and lying in bed, which is somewhat more parochially Albionish than New Order's almost contemporaneous 'Ceremony', or even Haircut 100's Pelican West.

In essence, this is the antidote to the constant revival of the synth. Over five CDs, you've got a lot of warm, happy jangle, from post-post-punk, through to C86, and the very dawn of shoegaze, perfect for lazy summer days and a fry-up after a night on the northern soul. There are also some loving liner notes round out a brilliant photographic package. Most definitely an album worth hunting down at your local, proper record shop.

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