Album Review: The Darling Buds 5CD Box Set – Cherry Red Records. Perfick Pop Larking!

The Breakdown

With sleeve notes by Lois Wilson (MOJO, Record Collector), this 5CD set curated and compiled by The Darling Buds, features 14 previously unreleased recordings, plus early singles, three albums, B-sides, remixes and the 2017 ‘Evergreen’ EP. Perfick pop!!!
Cherry Red Records 7.5

Every so often a band resurfaces, and people proclaim them as some sort of ironic “guilty pleasure”, as if good music should be embarrassing! We’ve seen it loads in recent times with the likes of ABBA and Sparks. Now, I’m not about to join the trend but I did bloody love this band back in their heyday. 1988’s Hit The Ground single is pure pop brilliance!

With sleeve notes by Lois Wilson (MOJO, Record Collector), this 5CD set curated and compiled by The Darling Buds, features 14 previously unreleased recordings, plus early singles, three albums, B-sides, remixes and the 2017 ‘Evergreen’ EP.

Formed in Caerleon, Wales, in 1986, The Darling Buds quickly found an enthusiastic hometown audience. Taking their cues from the C86 scene, The Beatles, ‘60s pop and the post-punk DIY scene, the band released their debut single the following year, followed by two singles on Sheffield’s Native Records and a dream move to Epic, for whom they recorded three excellent albums drawing on the rich talents of singer Andrea Lewis and her songwriting partner Harley Farr. They were considered part of the short lived “Blonde” movement (indie rock band fronted by blonde female singer with all other members being dark-haired males) along with the likes of The Primitives and Transvision Vamp, but also referenced the C86 scene of a few years earlier. This was of course lazy arsed journalism on the part of the music press, and very much of it’s time. “Female fronted is not a genre” as the t-shirt slogan proclaims!

‘Killing For Love’ navigates a chronological arc through a six-year career which saw the band lifted from the sheer delight of early airplay by John Peel to the heights of hit singles, world tours and success in the USA, and back again. Narrated by the band themselves, through new interview material and their own notes on each album and period of their careers, a story emerges of friends – young musicians out for a good time – and an enduring sound which is fondly remembered and highly regarded today.

Packed with previously unheard recordings and photographs from the band’s own private archive; and accompanied by an insightful scene setting essay from Lois Wilson, ‘Killing For Love’ brings together thirty years of friendship and songwriting. The band are still playing live shows and in the late part of 2023 undertook a short tour. Lewis or Lewis Jarvis as she’s now known is the only surviving original member, but guitarists Matt Grey and Paul Watkins have been around the various line-ups from 1992 to the present day, although neither feature on 1992’s release Erotica, the third and currently last album the band released.


1 Shame On You (Leeds Demo)*
2 Mary’s Got To Go (Leeds Demo)*
3 Just To Be Seen (Leeds Demo)*
4 If I Said
5 Just To Be Seen
6 Shame On You
7 Valentine
8 Uptight
9 It’s All Up To You
10 Think Of Me
11 That’s The Reason
12 Burst (Early version)
13 When It Feels Good (Early Version)
14 Spin (Flexi Version)
(* previously unreleased)


1 Hit The Ground
2 Burst
3 Uptight
4 The Other Night
5 Big Head
6 Let’s Go Round There
7 She’s Not Crying
8 Shame On You
9 You’ve Got To Choose
10 Spin
11 When It Feels Good
12 Things We Do For Love
13 Just Say So
14 Shame On You (Slightlydelic Version)
15 Pretty Girl
16 If I Said
17 Hit The Ground (12”)
18 Turn You On
19 Different Daze
20 It’s All Up To You (Flip Flop Version)
21 Mary’s Got To Go
22 I’ll Never Stop


1 It Makes No Difference
2 Tiny Machine
3 Crystal Clear
4 Do You Have To Break My Heart
5 You Won’t Make Me Die
6 Fall
7 A Little Bit Of Heaven
8 Honeysuckle
9 So Close
10 The End Of The Beginning
11 Me? Satisfied?
12 Sugar City
13 Tripped Up
14 Tiny Machine (7″ Version)
15 Tiny Machine (Hercules Mix)
16 Tiny Machine (Live)
17 Crystal Clear (A Mix Amethyst)
18 Crystal Clear (Extended Version)

1 One Thing Leads To Another
2 Sure Thing
3 Off My Mind
4 Gently Fall
5 Please Yourself
6 Angels Fallen
7 Isolation
8 Long Day In The Universe
9 Wave
10 If
11 Love And Death
12 Long Day In The Universe (Remix)
13 Babyhead
14 Suffer
15 What Goes Around

1 Honeysuckle (Demo)*
2 Elevate Me (Demo)*
3 Emaline (Demo)*
4 Why Bother Now (Demo)*
5 Thomas Dolby intro* 6 Off My Mind (Live and Acoustic in San Francisco)*
7 Angels Fallen (Live in Chicago)*
8 It Makes No Difference (Live in Chicago)*
9 Hit the Ground (Live in Chicago)*
10 Perfect Pain (LA Demo)*
11 Drag King (LA Demo)*
12 25 (LA Demo)*
13 Evergreen
14 Guess The Good Parts
15 Complicated
16 Twenty-One Aches
(* previously unreleased)

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