Millions Like Us is « The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977 -1989 » and it’s a wonderfully exuberant blast of tunes, many of which I know from my teens and some which are new to me. I was ten in 1977 but the mod revival was in full flow by the time I was in my second year or so of senior school. Along with the mod revival came two tone, ska and these were heady days indeed…my first proper gig was at the Wakefield Theatre where I went to see The Beat and it was rammed and perhaps one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Soon after I went to see The Jam at Leed’s City Hall and then I was all Oxford bags, Harrington jacket, Fred Perry shirts and pointy shoes…I wasn’t allowed a fishtail parka, would have looked daft in a mohair suit and my take on the “look” was very much garnered from what I read in the music press and what I was allowed to get away with. It was a brief love affair as far as I remember lasting a couple of years or so, but it’s brilliant to hear some of the tunes I played on my parents’ music centre and eventually my Amstrad set up getting a fresh airing on this 4CD collection.

Millions Like Us is named after the Purple Hearts (a nod to the speed that kept the original mods up all night) tune of the same name and is as comprehensive a document of music of the time that you could hope for. There’s a lot of music that is new to me to be fair, but there’s Secret Affair’s Time For Action which I remember very fondly and which reached 13 in the UK charts selling and impressive 200 000 copies… and a few others that charted too. There are a good few names that bring back a good few memories… The Chords, Merton Parkas, Nine Below zero and The Lambrettas, plus loads more. There’s a hundred tunes on this record and it’s no real surprise that there was a real interest in this music back in the seventies and beyond. It has the energy of punk/new wave/pub rock but with a more melodic feel… you can also hear where a good deal of the Britpop sound had its roots (take a listen to the Aardvark’s Arthur C. Clarke).

Of course there was a revival of the mod revival in the mid-eighties and this too is represented with the likes of The Untouchables…but I wasn’t there for this one I’m afraid having my head full of psychedelia, 60s folk/rock and metal so this is all new to me but it’s true to the original spirit of the mod sound and all is good.

This is pop music at its very best in my opinion – fast, short bursts of magic (most tunes come in at less than 3 minutes or so). Highlights for me are The Blades The Last Man In Europe which has a terrific horn line and The Reflection AOB’s All I Want To Be…but then there’s the retro James Taylor Quartet’s Blow Up which fuses an infectious back beat with a terrific organ line…truth be known this is a real case of All Thriller, No Filler!

This is a great collection of records and will appeal to lots of folk whether they were into the mod sound or not and it comes with a whole load of press clippings and the like from the time to give you a background which helps place this all in context. The only thing missing to my mind is a tune from The Jam…perhaps from Modern World.

Highly recommended and will certainly getting a load of play here come the summer months (August Bank Holiday anyone?) with the car windows open and the tunes blasting out… Out December 8th on Cherry Red.

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