If I waffle positively here, and yes, I do waffle, about retrospection and a trend in sounds trying to be authentically from a time of yore, this one doesn’t need to try. The Broadway Recording Sessions thrusts you rearward into the eighty’s mod revival scene, whether you want to go there or not.
Battersea trio, The Direct Hits may only be remembered by the connoisseur of mod, having one-shot at charting in ’82, when TV presenter Dan Treacy released their song, Modesty Blaise on his Whamm! imprint. The music press hailed this as not just another Jam, crash-bang-wallop mod revivalist tune, and their explosive live shows avowed them pioneers of a “Battersea Beat.”
Whamm were financially struggling to fund an album, so the band pooled their limited resources and booked the cheapest studio time they could find, Tooting’s Broadway Sounds. By the afternoon they had knocked out nine songs, the other three on this album were recorded a fortnight later. It would be two years later when they re-recorded some of these songs for their debut album “Blow Up.”
Now remastered, these lost recordings have surfaced finally, and, with warts and all, show the uncooked spirit of a hopeful mod garage band. I’ve had this playing for a few weeks since it’s late February release, and it heralds the hallmarks of a post-punk return to the basics, which sixties groups like The Kinks and The Small Faces mastered. To expect this yardstick is pushing it, but through all its rawness there’s some beguilingly adroit songs to make you wonder why they wasn’t as their namesake suggests, direct hits!
Perhaps it was that bit too retrospective for the progressive eighties. Because, elements capture neo-psychedelia, rather than soulful eighties mod assigned via The Spencer Davis Group and into bands like The Merton Parkas. That era where the beatnik style was teetering on influencing the pop sound, but Merseybeat was still riding the high ground. There’s a delicate balance here, avoiding things getting too cliché Mamas & Papas, these upbeat three-minute-heroes never fails to kick ass.
Consistently high-spirted and energetic garage sound, yet psychedelically enhanced; think if Syd Barrett’s days spent at Pink Floyd would’ve been spent with The Who instead, and you get the idea. There’s even a bike song, just like on Relics. Lyrically there’s unassuming stories with clear narratives and characters to challenge the Beatles.
Overall, though, you’ve got twelve mind-blowing rarities which perfectly capture a raw moment of youthful optimism for an inspiring band, in an era where everyone felt encouraged to pick up an instrument and give it bash; and they’re good, really good. In a funny kind of way, I see similarities to the now; the forgone passing of DJ culture in a rave new world and tasteless manufactured pop, to an imminent inclination of online DIY indie, I see hopefuls taking to a guitar and giving it a go. Perhaps then, there’s no time like the present for this to resurface.
Again, we find ourselves in the most unsuspecting part of the world to find the perfect reggae sound, Switzerland. Fruits Records release Winds of Matterhorn … Continue reading “Reggae Perfection; Winds of Matterhorn”
The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole Chapter Four: in which our heroes awake in unusual circumstances. Recap: Can you stop asking me for a recap, … Continue reading “Chapter 4: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead”
With the green light given for the A303 tunnel at Stonehenge, the lockdown restrictions at winter solstice and EH’s solstice parking fee demands, it’s understandable … Continue reading “Summer Solstice Celebrations Looking Likely at Stonehenge”
Wiltshire Council Leader Advises Tory Candidates to Block Correspondence With Save Furlong Close Campaign
It has been some time since we’ve covered the disgraceful fiasco at Rowde’s Furlong Close, where residents with learning disabilities face closure of the HFT … Continue reading “Wiltshire Council Leader Advises Tory Candidates to Block Correspondence With Save Furlong Close Campaign”
Chapter Three: in which our intrepid heroes arrive in Davizes, stop for refreshments and move onwards to face the mighty potholes of the A342. Recap: … Continue reading “Chapter Three: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole”
I once reviewed a cassette with a photocopied punk-paste zine style picture of Mr Blobby as the cover, where a distraught male voice screeched, “take … Continue reading “Horses of the Gods; We Wish You Health”
It’s not just me, is it? Eighteen seconds into the Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary, you know, when it breaks, and you’re like, that’s it, right … Continue reading “Cult Figures; Deritend, Yes Mate!”