Phoenix Road : The Mountaineer

A long time ago (a very long time ago) R*E*P*E*A*T wanted to put out a flexi featuring fab pop three piece Freeboy and Grrl Powered Low Fi Melodic Queens Stripey, to be given out free with the fanzine. Only problem was, in the brave new digital dawn of 1994, all the flexi pressing machines in the world had just been trashed, not to be resurrected for around 20 years, when Pirate Press rebuilt one from some plans they found on the internet. There was no way we could afford to press a hard vinyl on our own, so we embarked on a cost sharing scam*, and found two other worthy bands** to share costs with. And so, with the first in a long line of laboured local puns, disintegrating sleeves found in an attic and white labels hand stamped with farm animals, just as in a manger, was R*E*P*E*A*T Records born. MBRR001, 'Oh Grantchester, So Much to Answer For'... Indeed!

The reason I bore you with all this nostalgia is that one of the bands involved has, to keep the Biblical metaphor going, been resurrected. Rising from the ashes of past glories come Phoenix Road, featuring the song writing skills of Tom Hinton, whose band Autumn Stone's mix of wistful melancholy and pop nous graced our first ever record. 'The Mountaineer' displays the same ear for melody, the same song writing prowess and the same love of 60s jangle pop and C86 ethos with a modicum of Mod that marked out his earlier work. To make the links with the past even closer, the album also features Jason Baldock of Freeboy, whose trademark drumming, bass playing, backing vocals and production style give the record an energy, an integrity and professional sheen we wouldn't have dreamed of while stamping messy monkeys*** and (mad) sheep onto slabs of black vinyl all those years ago.

And back then, in our naïve youth, did we think we'd still be doing this mad music malarky a quarter of a century on? Maybe not, and maybe we'd have laughed at oldies doing so, but I am very glad that we are. Otherwise I'd not be listening to this, cheering up a wet and wild Swansea morning. This record is an enjoyable testament to the enduring power of a good tune, limitless enthusiasm and a love affair with pop, a testament that time can't dim.


The Mountaineer is available from Alley Cat Records and good indie record shops. Launch gig at The Portland Arms, December 1st 2019.

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T


(Yes I know, flipping footnotes in a review)

*One of the world's worst scams, as it turned out, in that we lost piles of money on it. Setting a precedent for the next 25 years.
** Well one was worthy and other was plain scary.
*** OK I admit monkeys that aren't usually farmyard animals, I was getting confused with the cows and horses of the next release.