Various Artists

I Won't Have To Think About You
Various Artists
I Won't Have To Think About You

A comp of 80s and 90s Australian indie-pop, jangle and songs for the lovelorn librarian in us all. Music that so powerfully evokes the hormonal rush and ache of teenage summers – the passion! the pain! the over-before-it-started fleetingness of it all! - you’re liable to break out in spots and shove a copy of Bonjour Tristesse in your jacket pocket, just in case she/he asks you about it. OK, once you’ve heard two or three songs like this, you’ve heard them all; but somehow I Won't Have To Think About You doesn’t outstay its welcome; its down-under downer music perhaps a bit less twee than its Northern Hemisphere equivalent. Could be the Oz accent: neither as bright and bolshy as American, nor as haughty and withheld as English, and almost innately sardonic, it’s the perfect tool to convey bittersweetness (and here, bittersweetness is the only game in town).

Compilers Moopie and Bayu have selected and sequenced the thing with good ears for space and mood and pacing, giving us not only twelve fine songs, but twelve examples of consummate budget recording and arrangement – punk and pared-down as anything, but not unambitious  (think less Pooh Sticks and more the baroque folk-rock fantasias of early B&S). Special mention: The Cat’s Miaow with ‘Not Like I Was Doing Anything’, and also in their Hydroplane incarnation (with not so much a song as an extended sigh); The Ampersands’ swishing, string-buoyed ‘Affected’, The Shapiros’ ‘Gone By Fall’, Love Positions’ bubblegum masterpiece ‘Light Of Day’ and a lesser-spotted number by the mighty Cannanes (one of only a handful of bands on here, who, for all their soft touch, recognise that sex, speed and violence are essential components of rock’n’roll).

There’s not much in the way of historical context or overt scholarship, with a lyric sheet favoured over liner notes; to all intents and purposes it’s a mixtape, a medium that makes less sense the bigger its audience. And the less forgiving voice in your head asks: do you really need a bunch of internet brats to tell you what you already know? Well, yes...because you don't already know. This particular node in the International Pop Underground, unlike NZ's Flying Nun microclimate, is one that few non-locals would claim to be au fait with. And so as a primer – albeit a necessarily brisk, personal one – to an unbelievably rich and hidden seam of romantic subterranean pop, I Won't Have To Think You About You is indispensable. 

£23.99

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