documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

A Splash Of Colour: Various Artists (WEA K58415) 1982

Neo Psychedelic album reviewed in Sounds, January 1982

“ENTER NOW minstrels and play . . . “ The transatlantic enunciation of The Doctor is a familiar reverbed-ed-ed cadence to those who have grooved to his record collection during the last few months in the capitol’s psychedelic niteries.

Regally dressed regulars will unashamedly clutch to their Paisleyed bosoms, being as it is the first vinyl gathering of some of that scene’s emergent bands.

Apart from the misunderstood dress code of the Groovy Cellar and contrary to popular opinion, ‘correct’ attire was never a prerequisite for partaking of the good times and allowing one’s ears to be stroked and fondled by the swinging sounds.

Rabid accusations of REVIVAL! swiftly abounded, but in truth all that existed was a group of people having fun and enjoying shared interests. A hollow recreation of the past was not the intention and it is on such like it or leave it terms that A Splash Of Colourshould be judged.

Mood Six‘s “Just Like A Dream” and The High Tide‘s “Dancing In My Mind” provide the major instances of bands being able to absorb and then transcend their influences.

The former is a powerful, rich and well-structured piece of polished pop, as likeable and as cogent a ‘nuclear protest’ as you’re likely to find. Their later “Plastic Flowers”, despite the value of its wonderfully caustic storyline, is a trifle lame.

The whole entity shakes on a dodgy framework and the previous suave sparkle is conspicuously absent.

“Dancing In My Mind” is a re-recording of The High Tide’s indie single. I saw them rattle through a 20 minute set at Le Kilt which included this tune, and I recall being thrilled by the instrumentals though the lyrical banality had me in hand to hide fits of laughter.

On record, however, the possibly hysteria-inducing words blend into a comfortably calm and controlled melody while the high octave backing singing provides the top layer of several minutes of gorgeously colourful poppy atmospherics.

This is by far my favourite cut. Again, like Mood Six, a second helping goes somewhat astray. The smooth gliding feel is forsaken in favour of a lumpy work-out almost reaching the horrors of a free-form freakout.

The Earwigs

The Silence and The Earwigs are perverse and charmingly enigmatic, eccentrics at work. No alternative but to lie back and enjoy the lunacy.

The Marble Staircase impress with a jumpy, bass propelled Castaways-ish rhythm with dashes of organ and guitar. The passage suddenly shifts into a dream-like mid-section. This is the kind of combo that should, I hope, slip subliminally into mass public consciousness and find themselves in an ongoing huge situation.

The Marble Staircase
The Marble Staircase

Miles Over Matter take two songs and unceremoniously stuff them full of stock sixties musical (especially guitar) footage, perhaps the kind of thing Todd Rundgren did when he first discovered studio electrickery.

Unfortunately Miles Over Matter’s raw material is too insubstantial to withstand such heavy decorating.

Not an elpee beyond criticism, but overall “Splash” is a more than commendable compilation. Considering the bulk of the contributors’ lack of studio experience the affair could have turned out a whole lot worse and become prey for the circling anti-psychedelic league vultures.

If there lurks the slightest penchant for sixties sounds within your musical appreciation faculties, you should shell out the notes and get the groove. You’ll not be disappointed. (Sounds, 16/01/82)

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