Firestation Records have assumed the mantle of chief musical archaeologists over the years. Not just because of their superb The Sound of Leamington Spa series, which has provided me with some quite wonderful tracks from bands I have never heard of or have been re-acquainted with after seeing them support the latest ‘indie sensation’ one rainy Tuesday night in some place like Skegness, but also because they have the brilliant ability to find the best of the ‘should have been big bands’ and make them just that, for an hour or so on their brilliant compilation CD’s.
My initial and almost immediate impression was the compilation takes the listener on a chronological journey through the many changes that occurred on the jangle-pop landscape in the last 2/3 years of the 1980’s.
Initially tracks such as I Don’t Pray, All You Ever Say (see below) and World of Your Own have a metallic, urgent jangle intertwined among the sort of pulsating percussion and chunky post-punk style grumbling riffs that bands such as The Dentists and Close Lobsters made so great in the late 80’s Medway scene. That said the primary difference is a definitive one, in that the vocals still have that inimitable sense of fey that dictated much of post The Smiths indie-pop aesthetic.
Tracks such as Call My Name and Feels Like Yesterday lead the way shimmer by retaining the same tinny jangle, but adding it to a fluffy light drum work and ultimately a sense of breezy that may well have appealed to labels like Sarah Records or Marsh Marigold if they totally concentrated their stidio work upon it.
Here voice docoders are added along with a distant production that presents all things Stone Roses and Madchester. For those who enjoy the bass lines of the very late 1980’s I Don’t Think So is very hard to beat and completely supresses any previous jangle intent.
In other words a typically exceptional Firestation Records release !