Harmony in My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-81

Harmony in My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-81


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Despite the way it sometimes seems, punk wasn't the only thing happening in the U.K. during the mid-'70s. A whole bunch of bands took the good-natured feel of pub rock, the hooky melodies of the original British Invasion, and the energy of punk to come up with their own kind of power pop. It was definitely inspired by the skinny-tie power pop scene happening in the U.S., but much of it had sharper, more ragged hooks. A few artists came out of this scene to have bigger careers, like Elvis Costello and Squeeze, and some bands were good enough to have lasting power, like Buzzcocks and Wreckless Eric, but a majority of the bands playing this jumpy, catchy pop were relegated to the dustbin pretty quickly. Cherry Red's 2018 release Harmony in My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-81 seeks to redress this injustice by unearthing the good, great, weird, and genius acts of the era over the course of three discs that will have power pop fans beside themselves with nervy joy. The set's compiler, David Wells, does a great job of sprinkling in some well-known artists like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and Buzzcocks, critical faves like the Monochrome Set, and power pop heroes such as Eddie & the Hot Rods and Bram Tchaikovsky among the one-offs, misfits, never-weres, and no-hit wonders that make up the rest of the set. It's a deep, deep dive into the underground that comes back with a very high gem-to-junk ratio. In fact, it's hard to single out anything for the latter column since the bands chosen are all very familiar with how to put together at least one song with a vibrant hook, unstoppable energy, and loads of enthusiasm. Some of the songs lean more toward punk (the Nips' "Happy Song," Chelsea's "Look at the Outside"), some are twitchy and strange like the best oddball new wave (the Dodgems' "Science Fiction [Baby You're So]," Those Naughty Lumps' "Down at the Zoo), and some give their U.S. counterparts a run in the chirpy pop department (the Monos!' "UFO," the Letters' "Don't Want You Back"). Mostly though, the collection charts that fleeting moment when punk, power pop, and new wave came together magically to create something new, great, and timeless. Songs like Fast Cars' "You're So Funny," Rich Kids' "Rich Kids," and the Users' "Now That It's Over" sound as fresh and vital as when they were first released. That applies to the whole set, which is required listening for anyone who loved the sound at the time or who loves the raft of bands who have been aping this sound with varying degrees of success in the many years that followed.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/02/2018
Label: Cherry Red
UPC: 5013929106208
catalogNumber: 9106208
Rank: 15224

Album Credits

Technical Credits

Elvis Costello   Composer
Bram Tchaikovsky   Composer
Edward Ball   Composer
Chris Bashford   Composer
Philip Chevron   Composer
Peter Holidai   Composer
Shane MacGowan   Composer
James Stevenson   Composer
Nick Watkinson   Composer
Andy Arthurs   Composer
Bas Snaith   Composer
Ada Wilson   Composer
John Byrne   Composer
Thought Police   Composer
John Wicks   Composer
Steve Royal   Composer
David Wells   Liner Notes,Annotation
Mike Sweeney   Composer
Diccon Hubbard   Composer
Rod Gerrard   Composer
Geoff Kerry   Composer
Richard Harding   Composer
Malcolm Owens   Composer
Dave Morris   Composer
Bo Benham   Composer
Steve McNerney   Composer
Eddy Ball   Licensing
Robin Parker   Composer
Martin Sims   Composer
Barry Sims   Composer

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