Album Review: Various – Harmony In My Head: Power Pop And New Wave Compilation

Cherry Red seem to be in the habit these days of releasing quality Box Sets and this new compilation see`s a natural follow up to the very successful Action Time Vision and Outside of Everything releases.

Unlike the Action Time Vision 1976-79 and Outside Of Everything 1977-81 previous sets in this series HIMH gives us no specific dates, in fact its not really needed.

Power Pop a phrase created by Pete Townsend in the late 60`s and New Wave which in itself could span 2 decades in some peoples opinion (an American phrase suitably dropped by us brits very quickly) nearly sums up the music contained within, but there`s no doubt some of the finer listens on here are or were tied to the Punk movement but were in the own right the writers of great pop songs.

I put my case forward for this on the title and first track the Buzzcocks, Harmony In My Head, probably the best group to export classic pop songs under the cover of punk directly followed by the Attractions, You Belong to Me from the This Year`s Model album. Here`s where you ask .. ok ive always called Elvis Costello and The Attractions the Attractions.. the band makes the man.
Side one of this compilation also brings us some classics, Take Me Im Yours by Squeeze, Suffice to Say by the Yachts, also released by CR on a recent Box Set of Yachts material and well worth the investment, Nick Lowe The Salford Jets and. The Boys 1977 single First Time gets picked on this, it`s great, and you can see why The Jam got them on tour support 78.

CD2, opens with one of the best songs ever written imo and one I bought in 78 tho I think it was released in 77, but if you get tired of hearing Eddie and The Hot Rods, Do Anything You Wanna Do you’ve no right to like music. Reaching number 9 in the chart in 1977 this song is pure Power Pop and New Wave, and at 4 min`s in length it`s still not long enough, although there`s always the 12inch with the longer intro.

Other tracks here include The Ruts West One Shine On Me, I Never Was A Beach Baby The Jags, The Radio Stars, Fast Cars, The Users and The Flys, and a whole selection of some brilliant and some obscure tracks that fill the genre of the title.

The full track listing follows, but HIMH hits the spot with some big hitters and some great melodic punk, if there`s such a thing and some tracks released for the first time on CD. The set comes in a deluxe package, and includes a a full booklet with 12000 word band bio`s, info and general notes by David Wells.
Harmony In My Head maybe doesn’t have the depth of Action Time Vision but apart from the more familiar names, some of the forgotten bands sucked into this huge field of Power Pop and New Wave deliver some real surprises, and at £17.99 for the lot you can`t go far wrong, and yes im playing Eddie and The Hot Rods again.

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