The Big Black Plastic Explosion...
I admit it. In my youth I was something of an indie kid.
Until the Manics came along and told me to grow up.
Now, the people at Cherry Red Records have here lovingly and painstakingly compiled a collection of many of the best, most influential and most interesting of the releases spanning the years 1980-1989 which loosely fit under the flowery umbrella of 'indie pop'.
The genre itself began as a reference to those post punk bands putting put tracks on genuine bedroom labels, but as independently distributed labels including Stock, Aitken and Waterman and PWL started to infect the indie charts with their unnervingly mainstream trashy pop, the term went on to stand instead for a whole 'indie' world view. This might have included some or all of the following: jangly guitar pop, heavily reverbed miserable male vocals or chirpy female ones, a continuation of the punk aesthetic, simple drum beats, DIY lo-fi production values, sweets, hello Kitty bags, swirly keyboards, silly haircuts and soppy hair-clips, worse anoraks...
And often, an empowering triumph of enthusiasm over ability.
There are 126 tracks on this 5 CD collection all epitomising this maxim to some degree, but even then there's still masses of scope for non stop argument and heated debate about what's included, and what's not.
The compilers start their copious, well informed and
beautifully laid out notes by admitting their disappointment at not
having been able to feature important genre-defining tracks by The
Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, Orange Juice, Felt, The Vaselines and
The Pastels. From the 8 million other indie stories out there, every
POP! kid is going to find other of their favourite tracks which are
missing. My overlooked delights would be anything by Thrilled Skinny
or The Wilderness Children, so I'll
But, no need to be at Loggerheads - this is all a subjective matter of taste.
See how genuinely enthusiastic I am?
And that's still without mentioning the gems I've stumbled upon for the first time here. Nor my possibly unprintable reaction to hearing Jamie Wednesday (an earlier incarnation of Carter USM) for the first (and probably last) time ever.
And that's why although Manic Street Preachers are the defining voice of my generation, the indie kid ethos here epitomised has definitely had a big influence on me and thus on R*E*P*E*A*T too the cut'n'paste zines, the DIY coloured vinyl singles, the continued belief that anyone can (and indeed should) do it.
Some sort of implicit manifesto, some sort of inspiration for action.
Be a creator, not a consumer!
However, as The Manics were to tell me, and as I have since found out for myself, while a DIY pop explosion may change a few heads, singles in paper bags (which are nearly impossible to find in shops), lots of cheap fuzz, lashings of 'ba ba baas' accompanied by ridiculous bowl haircuts and awkward anoraks were never going to change the world.
[For that you need something else.]
But, as long as you're not expecting a boy girl revolution, this carefully presented and imaginatively compiled collection of 5 Cds sure packs some top tunes, brings back some fond memories and leads to some exciting bubblegum splash surprises.
Go out and get 'em boys (and girls).
More neutral product description from Amazon, tho' I'd urge you to get yours straight from Cherrry Red via the link above.