Psychedelia has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years. However, that wouldn't be the scene's first revival. Back at the start of the Eightis, a new wave of psychedelic bands emerged out of the mod and post-punk scenes, themselves having branched out from the first wave of punk rock three years earlier.
Largely in thrall to Syd Barrett, The Byrds and most of the garage rock luminaries found on various Pebbles and Nuggets compilations, a lot of these bands might have started off sounding like The Jam but by the turn of the decade (by which point Paul Weller was already making plans for his next venture) a brand new scene was blossoming. Indeed, many of the artists grouped together under the banner of 'New Psychedelia' didn't really have that much in common bar the odd penchant for Paisley shirts and bowl haircuts.
At the time, the scene's biggest name was a band called Mood Six. Formed in London in 1981 from the ashes of mod revivalist outfits The Merton Parkas and The VIP's, they immediately signed to EMI and were expected to achieve mainstream success. Unfortunately, with the New Romantics dominating the charts at the time, that breakthrough never happened and they were dropped 12 months later after releasing just two singles. Similarly, The High Tide and The Barracudas were another two of New Psychedelia's main players. The former's Byrds-meets-The Cure take on the late Sixties via post punk attitudes attracted WEA to sign them up. While the latter had already enjoyed a Top 40 chart placing with the Beach Boys inspired 'Summer Fun', their sound changed dramatically over the following months. Turned on by the sounds of influential garage outfits The Standells and The Flamin' Groovies, The Barracudas transformation into a psych rock band of some distinction was complete, even if record sales weren't as forthcoming as they'd hoped.
Another Splash Of Colour documents the New Psychedelia movement from 1980 to 1985. Initially released as a compilation LP in 1982, this box set edition expands on the original's 13 tracks somewhat. Containing 64 tracks spread across three CDs, it also includes a 32 page booklet put together by revered music journalist and author Neil Taylor which takes an interesting and occasionally humorous look at the scene's origins, growth and eventual diversification into C86, shoegaze and Manchester flavoured indie rock (aka baggy).
Setting out its tracklisting in almost chronological order of release makes Another Splash Of Colour an even more engaging listen. Charting the scene's development from punk and mod infused power pop through to the janglier elements of indie pop that would form the embryonic parts of Creation Records roster, there's a vast progression in both style and sound here that could almost pass for a lifetime rather than five short years.
While the aforementioned Mood Six and The High Tide kick off the first CD, it's the likes of Miles Over Matter's swirling 'Something's Happening Here', Nick Nicely's Suicide-esque '49 Cigars' and The Marble Staircase's jaunty 'The Long Weekend' that stand out here. Future Creation stalwart Ed Ball's post Television Personalities outfit The Times revisit Spencer Davis Group's 'Keep On Running' for 'I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape', their Prisoner-inspired indie chart hit from 1982. Meanwhile, UK Subs frontman Charlie Harper does his best Screamin' Lord Sutch impression on ghoulish garage rocker 'Night Of The Jackal'. Elsewhere, The Chicanes' 'Further Thoughts' takes power pop to its next dimension while Future Daze (named after a Penetration song) might just have invented the surfgaze genre on 'Connect'.
Disc two once again sees both The High Tide and Nick Nicely take centre stage, while The Third Eye do their very best to emulate the frazzled genius of The 13th Floor Elevators on 'Pass Myself'. The Barracudas second contribution to Another Splash Of Colour 'Inside Mind' delivers skewered garage pop in a similar off kilter manner to Lloyd Cole & The Commotions initial forays, while Deep Freeze Mice remind us of Richard Harris fronting mod pop outfit Makin' Time, the latter surprisingly not included here. The Legendary Pink Dots go all darkwave like a psychedelic Cure on 'Waving At The Aeroplanes' while The Jetset's 'And We Dance On' and The Heartbeats 'Forever' channel Paul Weller's more satirical moments into melodic Rickenbacker heaven.
The third and final disc is very Creation Records-heavy for the first part. The Revolving Paint Dream's classic 'Flowers In The Sky' and The Jasmine Minks 'Mr Magic' set the scene in grandiose fashion. As do Alan McGee's Biff Bang Pow with the delectable 'A Day Out With Jeremy Chester' and The Dentists 'Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden', which jangles away impeccably yet predates the C86 movement by a good two years. Punk stalwarts The Damned spring up a couple of times here. Their alter ego garage outfit Naz Nomad & The Nightmares contribute a rockabilly-style cover The Electric Prunes 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' while bass player Captain Sensible contributes mawkish pop on 'The 4 Marys Go Go Dance All Night At The Groovy Cellar'. With additional contributions also from Julian Cope ('Sunspots'), The Icicle Works ('Nirvana') and Doctor & The Medics ('Barbara Can't Dance'), it's a pretty star-studded collection that once again demonstrates how far wide reaching the scene was.
While its sonic template might be a million miles away from the one now associated with tenty-first-century psych rock, the New Psychedelia movement bridged the gap between post punk and what's since gone on to be known as "classic indie". Tune in, turn on and freak out!
8Dom Gourlay's Score