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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.

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Product Details

Release Date: 11/02/2018
Label: Cherry Red
UPC: 5013929106208
catalogNumber: 9106208
Rank: 30718


Disc 1

  1. Harmony In My Head
  2. You Belong To Me
  3. Time Goes By So Slow
  4. Take Me I'm Yours
  5. Trouble With Love
  6. Rich Kids
  7. Teenarama
  8. Born a Woman
  9. Suffice To Say
  10. First Time
  11. He's Frank (Slight Return)
  12. Sarah Smiles
  13. You Know What I’m Thinking Girl
  14. Does Stephanie Know
  15. Howard Hughes
  16. She’s Gonna Break Your Heart
  17. Teenage Crush
  18. Strike Talks
  19. Couldn’t Believe a Word
  20. This Is the Way ... Ok
  21. (You’re Gonna) Lose That Girl
  22. Can’t See
  23. Turn the Lights Out
  24. Crazy Today
  25. (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again

Disc 2

  1. Do Anything You Wanna Do
  2. I’ve Got a Heart
  3. The Real Me
  4. Irene
  5. I'm Sorry
  6. West One (Shine On Me)
  7. Billy
  8. Broken Doll
  9. I Never Was a Beach Boy
  10. Biff! Bang! Pow!
  11. Let's Talk About the Weather
  12. Jilly
  13. Everyday, Everyway
  14. How About Me and You
  15. Ufo
  16. 9 O'Clock
  17. Shattered By It All
  18. Hey Baby
  19. Some Boys
  20. Don’t Want You Back
  21. Ruby Toot
  22. While I’m Still Young
  23. Wasting Time
  24. Curtains for You
  25. Down at the Zoo
  26. 24 Hours

Disc 3

  1. Look at the Outside
  2. Plain Jane
  3. Crazy Weekend
  4. Straight Lines
  5. Common Truth
  6. You're So Funny
  7. She's So Good Looking
  8. Angry With Myself
  9. My Business
  10. Now That It's Over
  11. Science Fiction (Baby You're So)
  12. Lady of the Afternoon
  13. No Money
  14. Name Dropping
  15. Out of Place
  16. Magic Roundabout
  17. Something To Tell You
  18. (I Can't) Put My Finger On You
  19. Mr. Sad
  20. Sons of Survival
  21. Happy Song
  22. Wait a Minute
  23. High Rise
  24. Drummer Man
  25. Hearts In Her Eyes

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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