Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: RPM
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Garage Rock Revival, Mod Revival
Among the many scenes that came out of the post-punk explosion in the U.K. was a healthy psychedelic one, full of revivalists, sonic explorers, weirdoes, and even a fair amount of ex-punks. RPM's three-disc box set Another Splash of Colour expands on the 1982 compilation album of similar name (A Splash of Colour) that rounded up some of the leading lights of the neo-psych movement, including Mood Six, the Barracudas, and the Times.
Psychedelia seems to rear its multicolored head in music once every couple of decades, doesn’t it? With acts like Temples populating the airwaves and electronic psych infiltrating the basement clubs, it’s a prime time to learn some history on the genre. Summer of Love documentaries and ‘60s books abound, and yet the cross-continental psych revival of the ‘80s has hardly been given the same treatment. Another Splash of Colour: New Psychedelia in Britain 1980-1985 makes a bold step towards changing that.
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.
Right now, at this very moment, someone somewhere in the world is jamming in a practice space or sitting in their bedroom, guitar in hand, toiling away in search of a killer ska punk song. One of the side effects of music media’s longstanding love affair with shiny new objects is that the official narrative of pop usually involves one trend after another, multiplied by 60 years. What happened in the late 1970s? That’s easy: disco and punk.
"We’re a reaction against the violence of London. Here you can be what you want to be. We’re carrying on where the '60s left off. We put jelly on the floor and ask people to eat it. The fact that they do shows that there is still hope for the world." These are the words of the Doctor, a glammed ….
Exhaustive compilation of early-80s Brit psych. The largely London-based New Psychedelic movement of the early 1980s was overshadowed by the more notorious New Romantic scene which was occurring at the same time. Whereas the latter was synth-based, futurist and studiously elitist, the new psychedelic bunch were retro stylists, seeking out the second-hand Paisley of 60s psychedelic Britrock and its old London haunts.
Whether it’s second-generation mods of the late 70s/early 80s or a contemporary infatuation with 40s fashions and dance styles, revivalist scenes all face the same challenge: proving themselves no mere pastiche. While wholly enjoyable for those experiencing them at the time, hindsight often reveals these movements to be blips – waystations between the more important stuff that took place either side. And so to the second wave of psychedelia.
Compilations fall into two categories in my mind. Many times they are weak affairs that come front loaded with some heavy hitters and then pack the remaining space with tepid offerings. Then there are those that attempt to demarcate a line around a nebulous concept/genre and stake their claim as to why the music they’ve included should be there. Another Splash of Colour- New Psychedelia in Britain 1980-1985 is thankfully the latter.