It's easy to underestimate The Herd. Groomed for girl appeal which was squeezed dry across three big hits, the band then obligingly broke up to pursue more credible projects. They were actually a decent bunch of musicians, all capable of taking lead vocals and all contributing material. The hit material though was provided by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. 'From The Underworld', with its fuzz guitar flourishes and mystical atmosphere, nods to psychedelia, but The Herd were always a straight pop outfit who dipped a toe into other genres.
The first disc deals with singles tracks, while the backbone of the second disc is their sole album release, an impressive one. Although Peter Frampton and Andy Bown did most of the writing and fronting, bassist Gary Taylor revealed a startling baritone reminiscent of Scott Walker. He takes lead on 'I Don't Wanna Sleep Again', an appealing country-ish jaunt, and 'Sad', an adaptation of 'Air On A G String'. Meanwhile, the instrumental 'Impressions Of Oliver' is a brassy, swinging piece of jazz that's dying to be adopted as a TV theme.
Not everything works of course. A duet with a schoolgirl chorus is one of a few atrocities included here, while Bown and Frampton had yet to develop into accomplished songwriters. Also, the brevity of the band's recording career means that 10 of the 48 tracks are alternate versions. If you like colourful, late 1960s pop, however, this is worth consideration.