Various Artists - Another Splash of Colour

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2016-07-13

I must admit, I know very few of these bands from the early 80s and if it weren’t for such names as Julian Cope and Robyn Hitchcock, I would have known none of them. But what a crime. The British music scene that I experienced in that time-period consisted mainly of XTC, U2, and I was madly in love with Joy Division and thought New Order was just a Joy Division cover band for years. (I don’t count such hit-makers as The Police and UB40.)

But what Cherry Red Records is bringing to the music fanatic through this collection and the brilliant Still in a Dream shoegaze collection and virtually all of its catalog should not be ignored. I personally had no idea, until this collection, of the quality or volume or sheer magic of the British psychedelic movement in the time period between 1980 to 1985.

The opening track, ‘Dancing in My Mind’ sets a wonderful tone, a little dark, brilliantly executed, and what follows is not only quality music, but a joyous surprise to music fan, who are not just curious about the roots of psych and post-punk, but can’t get enough of it actually.

However, you don’t want to mistake this collection, or this time period in British music, as one of creating the brooding, grinding psych of some of the current psych music.  In fact, the poppy brilliance of such songs on the 1st CD of this 3-CD collection is undercut with cheeky, funny lyrics, and just up-tempo quality post-punk.  In fact, outside of Nick Nicely’s brilliant ’49 cigars’ you could say this first CD is just a great collection of pure wonderful pop music from a forgotten era.

The 2nd disc doesn’t disappoint as well and falls a little closer into psychedelia at least in spirit with such tracks by the Hawkwind/Writer Michael Moorcock’s ‘Brothel in Rosenstrausse’ and Purple Hearts ‘Hazy Darkness…’.

But what’s so refreshing and endlessly fascinating about all three of these disks is just the sheer quality and exuberance of the bands.  We forget, at times, how organic music used to be before Pro Tools and the like, where really only a couple people generate much of the record.  This album harkens back to when a band was a band with four or five distinct parts and the quality, in most cases, excelled above the DIY leanings today.

On much of the first two CDs and on into the 3rd one, where Julian Cope appears, you continually hear the foundation that would begat the powerful post-punk movement to start the 00s.  Brit pop lives!

Thank you, Cherry Red, for yet another thoughtful, brilliant collection of past music that not only should not be forgotten, but also listened to over and over again.

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