"We just play music, rock 'n' roll, gender has got nothing to do with it.”
Offputtingly expensive but utterly essential 2xLP compilation of Flying Nun’s finest group bar The Clean, and something of a Rosetta Stone for decoding thirty subsequent years of International Pop Underground. It’s a survey of their EPs Bewitched (1985), LBGPEP2 (1986) and This Is This (1987) – there never was an album - plus seven previously unreleased live tracks plucked from various stages of the Dunedin quintet's career. It’s all here: their most sublime pop moment, the flute-bedecked endless-summer swoon ‘As Does The Sun’; elegantly dazed psych firebird ‘Circumspect Penelope’; twee touchstone ‘Cactus Cat’ (“Yeah she’s my cactus cat, and she is my best friend; yeah she’s my cactus cat and our love will never end”), ++. Arriving firmly post-post-punk, LBGP embodied the finest qualities – aesthetic and musical - of the incipient indie-pop groundswell, while avoiding most of its pitfalls/excesses. Their songwriting, uptempo and upbeat but with a crucial edge of dying-fall melancholy, does what all true r'n'r aspires to do and nails the teen paradox, when you’ve got it all to come but you've seen it all before. The arrangements are direct but never obvious, lush but never overworked, the harmonies breezy beyond belief, and the taut, zig-zagging guitar interplay of Kath Webster and Denis Roughan represent jangle at its most quintessential and exhilarating. What makes it more than a re-tread of 1991’s Compilation is the live tracks; suffice to say, they are crucial, being songs that didn’t make it into the studio and which you won't really come across elsewhere (and uniformly powerful at that). Liner notes by Bruce Russell of The Dead C. As I say, it’s not cheap, but given each original EP goes for £60+, you could argue it's a bargain - and certainly worth more than a mediocre night out. Anyway, it's sold out at distribution, no word yet on a re-press, so get a copy while you still can and before some c**t tries to charge you even more than we are.
Flawless masterpiece, bury me with this record.