UNCUT - - Archive - JA­sON AN­DER­sON

in­die hope­fuls edge closer to the main­stream

The second se­quel to Cherry Red’s 2014 ex­pan­sion of the epochal C86 presents an in­die scene on the cusp of some ma­jor devel­op­ments. Though jan­gly sounds abound on the 71 songs col­lected here (so much so that there’s an in­evitable de­gree of twee fa­tigue), the con­tents demon­strate a shift away from the orig­i­nal sham­bling scen­esters’ dis­taste for dis­plays of am­bi­tion, and a new ea­ger­ness to grab hold of the brass ring that The Smiths had sur­ren­dered to other con­tenders. That’s as pal­pa­ble in the early rum­blings by Manch­ester’s fu­ture kings – with The Stone Roses and In­spi­ral Car­pets rep­re­sented by their first Sil­ver­tone and Play­time sin­gles, re­spec­tively – as it is in Cre­ation’s first full-fledged stab at glory with the House Of Love. For the lat­ter, C88 cu­ra­tor John Reed opts for the beguiling early B-side “The Hill”, fea­tur­ing lead vo­cals by the band’s soon-to-de­part co-founder An­drea Heukamp. De­spite that new strain of ca­reerism, The Pooh Sticks opt for spoof­ing their peers’ in­die snob­bery in “On Tape”, one of many songs worth redis­cov­er­ing. Other emer­gent ten­den­cies in­clude the fanzine/ flex­i­disc-fos­tered win­some pop that soon be­came Sarah Records’ métier (The Sea Urchins’ “Please Rain Fall” be­ing the loveli­est ex­am­ple here) and the proto-Brit­pop of The Heart Throbs, Blow Up and oth­ers who couldn’t quite cap­i­talise when it all went over­ground. Ex­tras: 7/10. Deluxe 3CD clamshell pack­age comes with co­pi­ous liner notes and band bios by orig­i­nal C86 com­piler Neil Tay­lor.

mick Stevens: an un­der­rated English­man

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