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Andrew MacKinnon

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Crystal Tips And Mighty Mice
Crystal Tips And Mighty Mice
Price: £10.04

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The great lost powerpop classic, 21 July 2008
Wow, truly the ultimate lost post punk power pop album of the period that will not disappoint, even if you've been looking forward to this for the past 27 years! Setting the scene nicely with the release of Satans Rats stuff last year (and what a collection that was!) and then grabbing the debut for CD release shortly after, this shows where this amazing group were going...and what a place that never was!
Some amazing modern sounds emit from the release, courtesy of top producer and assembled musicians, really capturing the moment with a set with real growing power, expect to be playing this for some years to come!
Better than Blondie on all levels (looks, playing, attitude, image, songs, production) the fact that it was shelved by the record company just adds to the legend of this group. You can sense their total ambition and desire in the whole experience. Wraps up the complete Wendy Wu fronted catalogue when added to the debut CD, and includes the ultra new wave pogo classic `It's always the English', well they always were a punk band at heart and certainly playing live really liked to rough it up.
From the rehearsal shed in Evesham doing Lady is a Tramp to the ultra weird final single We'll win with Visconti at the knobs, and some of the best guitar work either side of the new wave, the fact that they never made it makes them a bit of a time classic capsule, undiluted and pure. A true modern masterpiece!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2010 6:12 PM GMT


Talk Talk Talk [7" VINYL]
Talk Talk Talk [7" VINYL]
Offered by oldiesmuseum
Price: £4.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Mod sounds from Brighton's finest, 30 Jun 2004
This review is from: Talk Talk Talk [7" VINYL] (Vinyl)
Another slice of the British Way of Life from Brighton's finest. Bitter and cynical lyrics snarled out in a kind of tuneful way by top Wellerist front man Preston.
Single number three setting the taste buds nicely for the album, which may just turn out to be a cracker on the basis of the previous releases
Note also great b-sides. Another lesson learnt well from The Jam.
This band is, however, the real deal-catch them live to find out. They really do mean it and look like they may be around for some time.
OK the reference points are all too obvious to us' 79 Mod Revival survivalists, but it still makes for Ace Face music and why mess with a winning formula anyway?
Far too British to stand a chance away from these shores, except on a cult level, but the Mods are back in form with this group-and boy do we need them to succeed!
Exceptional!


This Is What They Want
This Is What They Want
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £52.95

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Chords- A fantastic Collection, 15 Aug 2003
This review is from: This Is What They Want (Audio CD)
Wow! Get this 2 CD set and become an overnight Chords completist! Every thing they ever recorded (almost) is on here.
The Chords were the shining stars of the short lived and much maligned Mod Revival of ’79, they were really more punk than mod and this certainly hindered their commercial ability at the time.
Despite being superior in every department to their peers of the time (Secret Affair and Lambrettas) a breakthrough single was not to happen. Their biggest hit was the totally fantastic ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, which scraped in at 40 and then disappeared.
This compilation contains all the singles released by the original band, together with the final two with Kip on lead vocals. Every one of these releases is an absolute gem, my personal favourite being ‘British way of life’ which at the time received a partial radio ban because some stupid DJ thought the song was racist!
The final two singles were a fitting end to the group who really should have been given the chance to make another album, because on the strength of these offerings it would have been a classic. What really went wrong was by 1981 Mod was about as fashionable as being a Teddy Boy, the audience had moved on to the next fad (unfortunately in this case the fast emerging New Romantic scene) and as such record sales were minuscule.
Great sleeve notes accompany this top package with the band looking so young! Posing around the streets of their hometown.
The brief spell with Jimmy Pursey as mentor and (poor quality) producer is also covered via some interesting versions of some of their early material.
The unreleased final single is also a high point, as is the truly superb demo version of ‘I’m not Sure’ which displays the band at their absolute peak, fast furious and really in tune. Drumming as always is totally manic at this period, with chief stickman Brett Ascott clearly following in the Keith Moon school of performance!
The Jam comparisons dogged the progress of this band, but the singles and stand out album track ‘So far away’ detail a group with to these ears a stronger run of releases than that of the Jam at the time. Both versions of So far away are on here; the edited version at some stage intended for a single release-I’m sure this just might have got the band the much required hit.
It all ended up a bit bitter in the end with the group clearly disillusioned with the whole record company business, as cynically revealed in the final single ‘Turn away again’
The collective output here is certainly a real credit to both songwriting and performance and as such is a fitting tribute to these fondly remembered mod leaders.


The Best Of
The Best Of
Price: £5.47

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power Pop Classic from the One Hit Wonders!, 9 Aug 2003
This review is from: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Always remembered as one hit wonders for the Power Pop classic ‘Back of My Hand’, this album, which is essentially both studio LP’s shows that this band had a whole lot more to offer than the public ever got the hear.
Judging by the poor sales of both albums & follow up singles, not many did get the hear The Jags, which is a real pity because there are some real gems on this release, with production & musicianship as crisp as any of their contemporaries.
OK, the Elvis Costello comparisons are certainly justified, especially on the first half of the album, which is the first LP. Gems that really shine here are the follow up to Back of My Hand ‘Woman’s World’ a fantastic tale of girl power! Played out in snappy punk/pop style with cynical lyrics ('She'd gone out with the boy next door, and left me in the lurch once more' is a particular favourate of mine!),Got to a desperate 75 in the charts.
The next single ‘Party Games’ didn’t even dent the charts which is a real pity because it’s the stand out track on the album, kind of reminds me of Slick/Baycity Rollers/Mud style, but no bad thing!
By the time the second LP got released in '81 the band had changed to a darker style, with sometimes slightly embarrassing ‘cockney’ vocals taking over from the Elvis style!
A storming mod version of ‘Here comes my Baby’ kicks off the 2nd LP set, with the rest of the stuff good, but not as ace as the first LP. More of a grower I feel.
The big question is....... just who were these guys? I would really like to know what they did after this group disbanded. They had songwriting style and playing expertise that kind of hints at session men, but who knows?
The Jags-the great undiscovered mystery of our time. Oh, by the way get this album-Since I acquired it 12 months ago it has barely got of my car CD player and remains an infectious classic of power pop perfection.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2012 2:40 AM BST


Power in the Darkness
Power in the Darkness

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the flares put you off this!, 5 Jun 2003
This review is from: Power in the Darkness (Audio CD)
These guys were seen as a bit of an oddity at the time, too old for punk but still playing the kind of protest music the punks adored. I mean check out the horrible flares on the back cover picture! They also adopted a somewhat unsuccessful image profile dressed as school kids.
The music is however, great! Truly a sound of the times, Robinson tackles many of what he saw as social mis-doings of the late 70’s with whit, humour and energy, formulating a sound driven by a keyboard backbone, superb sparing guitar and off-key vocals.
The players are really on fire during this superb album which alternates between outright screaming protest punk (Up against the wall-released as a single and a real belter) to more almost reggae influenced items such as the fantastic Long hot Summer.
If you lived through this time you will associate the sound and biting lyrics with the grim way life really was in the late 70’s. What the band manages to do so successfully is take this landscape and turn it into a reflecting soundscape of the times.
Best known for his stance on being a gay leader (this was during the time when being gay was certainly not accepted-and still almost illegal) the right-on politics are splattered all over this record but don’t let that put you off! These were political times and Robinson managed to get his hefty slice of political life over to his listeners in a far more intelligent way than most of his contemporaries. You just couldn’t fault the mans integrity.
I dig this out ever few months and it always sounds fresh and interesting. Sits really well along side the Jams early work, the Clash and even


Buzzcocks
Buzzcocks

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back with a blistering buzzsaw cracker!, 14 May 2003
This review is from: Buzzcocks (Audio CD)
P>Don’t worry about the Diggle penned content-it’s really good as well, especially the fantastic ‘Sin City’. But it’s Shelly that delivers the true Buzzcocks edge to this impressive set of tunes from the heart with wonderful opener ‘Jerk’ sounding like nothing has changed in 20 years!
Buzzcocks trademarks are aplenty- there’s some great one string/two note guitar solos in this lot, and the production is certainly in overdrive. What’s interesting to note is the way that the Shelly/Diggle compositions now sound so similar, with the vocal delivery still that of the Buzzcocks sound. Guitars perform the trademark start stop routine with great use of lo-fi swirling effects and the familiar ahhh’s and ooohh’s are ever present.
You won’t find any thing as good as some of the classic singles fodder that used to cheer up the charts during the grim late 70’s, however as an album this really does stand up as a bit of a cracker and stands well along side the classic 3.
Guitars chime and buzz as before, and the drumming is fast & furious. At one point I am sure I can hear the sound of a telephone ringing in the background! Or is this just an acknowledgement of the wonders of the association with Telephones that the group always had?
If you’re a 40 something survivor or a new punk rock fan that wants to find out where it all started and finished? Get this now and trust that the Buzzcocks are the only punk originals to carry this off to this level without looking like embarrassing old-timers!


Greatest Punk Album
Greatest Punk Album

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Never mind the quality-feel the width!, 2 May 2003
This review is from: Greatest Punk Album (Audio CD)
I am seriously considering contacting the Council on this one! Trades descriptions department! I mean really-the greatest punk album of all time! Do me a favour!
OK this is bargain basement stuff and 6 CD’s for 7 quid is a serious amount of music for your money but some of the content is such dross that the good stuff (and there are a few gems hidden in here) just gets in the way and makes this almost unplayable.
The packaging is certainly as cheap as it gets. A cardboard outer sleeve is all you get with the 6 CD’s labelled 1,2,3,A,B,C contained in plain boxes.
I bought this with the intention of playing it on a long car trip from Glasgow to London. It was in the bin by Carlisle! Avoid.


All Mod Cons
All Mod Cons
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £6.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back from the brink with a career saving masterpiece, 18 Feb 2003
This review is from: All Mod Cons (Audio CD)
What is so important to note is that Weller & Co really did have their backs to the wall prior to this exceptional LP saving their career. Foxton had kept things ticking over during early '78 with 'News of the World' and 'David Watts ' providing some minor chart action, but Weller's song writing had effectively dried up.
Initial sessions for the LP were scrapped when the producers informed the group that the songs were 'cr**'.
Proving his genius at the age of 20, Weller comes back with an album so much reflecting the times and of such songwriting & performing quality that all the critics were silenced.
All Mod Cons is the definitive Jam LP, indeed it's probably the definitive New wave and Mod soundtrack to boot. Every song is a well-crafted affair, supplemented with superb musicianship from the groups sadly now dismissed other players.
Rarely has a band sounded so much in tune with each other. Foxtons slippery bass lines underpinned by the clinical drumming of Butler, serve as the perfect soundscape for weller's amazing Rickenbacker guitar scratching. Forget lengthy guitar solo's, you won't find that sort of slack here. Everything has a place and purpose. Songs are short, tight and relevant with the vocal interplay of the two vocalists never again bettered.
If there is a central theme (this is definitely not a concept album!) then this is reflected in the front cover where the group are featured in Spartan surroundings. The album mood is that of isolation from society, from the then commercialised punk movement, from relationships, even from each other. Some of the mood is certainly down-beat, even grim.
Of course Tube Station is an undoubted masterpiece. Never again did Weller quite hit the total senses overload of this tragic commuter tale of violence. The final lyrics 'And they took the key's and she'll think it's me' serve as a vivid reminder of the potential power of modern songwriting. Frightening stuff indeed.
Other notable highpoints include an early Jam nod to 'Stanley Road' in the shape of 'Place I love', the downfall of a rockstar portrayed by 'To be someone' (I am sorry to say the Noel Gallagher version of this is should never have got out! - it's truly awful), and the haunting 'In the crowd'
The songs are great, but it's the way the whole package hangs together that creates the masterpiece that this album really is. From the lyrics reflecting what life was like to be twenty in the grim late seventies, to the artwork, to the Mod references, to the fashion, to the style, to the vocal interplay, to the mystery track (English Rose), to the fact that Polydor were near to pulling the plug on this group and where would we be now without them? Essential.


This Is The Modern World
This Is The Modern World
Price: £7.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mod Masterpiece, 29 Jan 2003
Always acknowledged as a bit of a weak offering from the Woking wonders at the time, this rush released LP has always been sadly overlooked by Jam fans and almost finished the group during the difficult 1978 period, until All Mod Cons and Tube Station propelled Well & Co into a different league.
This is however a really fantastic Mod album containing some of Weller's finest compositions and representing a giant leap forward from the debut, released only 5 months previously.
Coupled with what to these eyes is the best Jam LP sleeve (check out the fantastic drawings on the vinyl lyric sleeve-unforgivably missing from the CD issue) the songs are tough representations of life in Britain in the late 70's.
Particular favourites follow in sequence on side two: I need you, London Girl, Here comes the weekend. Great songs played to perfection by a bunch of teenagers who created a sound of the times, always with a nod back to the mid sixties, but none the worse for that.
Forget the hype! This album is one of their best. The sight of Bruce Foxton leaping in the air on the back sleeve gives an indication of how electric this band were at this time. All Mod Cons was a masterpiece that made the group and secured Weller's status forever. This record paved the way for that to happen and is it's self a sharp and sussed overlooked cracker.


The Jolt
The Jolt
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.90

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of time classic (Don't mention The Jam!), 29 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Jolt (Audio CD)
It was never going to be easy being The Jolt. A three piece new wave act, singed to Polydor, produced by Vic Smith and Chris Parry, Mod influenced and a name not a million miles away from their main comparison point, they were always destined to be overshadowed by their sharper and cooler label mates The Jam.
This being said this is a truly fantastic album, which certainly gives Weller & Co.'s debut a real run for its money. Comprising the much overlooked debut LP complete with the earlier and later singles this is effectively the entire recorded output from the short-lived newwave/mod combo from Wishaw, near Glasgow.
Tracks such as Mr. Radio Man, All I can do and Decoyed demonstrate sharp well crafted new wave songs, very much of the time but still sounding suprisingly contemporary, due to the quality of the performers. Don't forget; at this time there really was a lot of rubbishy punk and new wave acts around-this lot were tight and focused with the results evident within each of the 20 compositions.
Highpoints? There really isn't a duff track here! The whole of the album contains some real mod inspired gems. Don't forget this was out a full year before the Mod revivalists got going (Secret Affair, Chords, Lambrettas)
The final EP contains the Weller composed and future Jam B-Side 'Sea saw'. Released before the Jam included this as the flip to Eton Rifles, the version sounds so similar to the Jam that you are left wondering if the move to include this was planned as a goodbye and thank you to their (soon to be) enormously successful mentors.
For anyone interested in the birth of the Mod Revival around 79, this is as good an indicator as anything else. Truly one of the real quality acts of the new wave, The Jolt were just out of time. Too late and Mod for Punk. Too early and Punk for Mod.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2010 6:57 AM BST


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