Perfect Unpop - Peel Show Hits Vol. 1 1976-80
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* PERFECT UNPOP is based on a dangerous assumption: that if you were ever touched by John Peel's enthusiasm for spiky `70s pop, then by now you've probably found yourself a copy of the Undertones' `Teenage Kicks'. The same applies to raw, beautiful singles by the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, the Clash and the first five Fall albums - none of which are included here.
* Instead, here's a collection of Peel favourites a little less likely to be anthologised, eulogised, or to crop up on your iPod.
* Anyone who ever cuddled up alone at night with Peel will recognise the glee with which he pounced on these devil-may-care, slightly broken pop songs. Indie also-rans these bands may have been in the Sting `n' Bono scheme of things, but add up all these flashes of underdog genius, and here's a CD to rival any other from the era of the questionable stringy tie.
* Although we're missing the voice that always seemed to be speaking to us alone, the unearthing of these Nuggets from the playlists will recreate something of the atmosphere of the Peel Show for his under-cover legions, and hopefully some young Johnny-cum-Latelies as well.
* Make no mistake, we're talking all-time highlights here - where six seconds of dead air would be followed by a sheepish, slightly breathless admission that Peel had been off `bopping' around the studio!
Perfect Unpop, a collection of more obscure 'Peel favourites' from 1976-1980, is not only one of the best compilations of the year but also excellent value, packing 24 tracks onto one CD, so full kudos to Cherry Red for getting this stuff together. If you used to peer at the NME independent chart and wish for all the achingly obscure records that featured within, this collection is for you, but that's to damn the album with faint praise, since this stuff is the opposite of cynical, the opposite of Pop Idol, the opposite of our current nightmare of celebocracy.
Like Michel Gondry's recent film, Be Kind Rewind, this is a celebration of DIY or so-called 'outsider' art, but the wonder of it is that it is all so damn good: A perfect illustration of the primal power of rock and roll through twenty four punk and post-punk acts, including the Au Pairs, the Blue Orchids, the Young Marble Giants and many others you'll be pretending you knew about all along.
On Subway Sect's Ambition, a track often voted top punk single of all time, Vic Godard sings ''Nothing ever seems to happen to me'', but the point about all of these tracks is that they make things happen and change reality, at least for three-odd minutes, for their creators and maybe, too, for the listener. Taking Ambition's inspired amateur appropriation of the Who's teenage-wasteland riffs as a starting point, this is a celebration of inauthenticity, of fearless fakery, of seizing the tools of art and industry for yourself, and as such it's unfailingly inspiring.
It would be futile to pick favourites here, as there's a world history in every track (and excellent sleeve notes too), but despite the presence of Wreckless Eric, it's hard to beat the Vibrators' Whips and Furs, particularly for the breathlessly exciting delivery of the apparently simple but secretly cosmic line: ''If you dance to the music the night will go on and on''. --Tim Nelson
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Top Customer Reviews
It does this well, with a mix of post-punk classics some of which are more obscure than others.
A number of these I'd forgotten about, others are more regular on compilations, but the overall mix is a good one.
As with most compilations like this, check what, if anything, you already have.
If it's most of it, think twice, if not, buy it.