Music compilation CD Modern Sky (UK 2017)
Reviewed by Rob Harrison
As a sad Seventies kid I’m just a sucker for compilation albums. This was, back in the day, a way of labels promoting new bands at the time, such as The Jam, Cheap Trick and The Doctors of Madness
The label would promote them, alongside such other established artists such as Gene Clark and Eric Clapton, who would showcase new material on these albums.
For a punk kid like me this was a serious win, win situation as the retail price would be fairly cheap as to encourage you to buy the compilation. That’s a shock I know, the record company being nice to you. Those were the days.
So, when I was offered the compilation on Modern Sky Records I jumped at the chance to have a bona fide comp back in my grubby mitts.
Modern Sky is a label which was originally based in China but they now have linked up to Sound City in Liverpool to create a base in England.
The director of Modern Sky Shen Lihui has a passion for music and looks to release the sort of bands he would go out and buy himself. Sounds fair enough to me.
So what’s it like? Well, actually it’s alright. My instincts were proved right and in this game sometimes instincts are all you have to go on. It actually sounds like early Nineties shoegaze music.
There was a compilation put out in 1993 by Rough Trade called ‘Unnecessary Nicenes’, to reflect the influx of American indie pop singles at the time. You could call it indie folk, hence the title unnecessary niceness, as the music at the time was rather noisy post grunge rock, which seemed to lack any musical subtlety.
Rough Trade can be given credit for spotting the scene and putting it together in a coherent way.
So back to the future, so to speak. The first track on the compilation on Modern Sky Is Catholic Action Doing Well.
This band have more hooks than a butcher’s shop, Oops, upset the vegans with that one, but the actual band reminds me of early Generation X. Very garage band like in its rawness. Nice.
Next up is Violet Youth, who remind me of Ride with the shoegaze bliss out solos. Lazy journalists in the nineties would describe it as waterfalls of sound, so I’ll do the same or bring it back into fashion, maybe.
Fuss with the track Fluff is another bliss out excursion, still good though.
The last track is by an artist simply called Pixie. There is a real African feel to the guitar sound and actually this is the most intriguing track on the compilation, as it seems to mix different genres together. I feel Pixie could go anywhere. Watch this space.
So that’s it. There seems to be a revival of the C86 Indie sound at the moment. To explain this music jargon to mere mortals C86 was a tape compilation put out by Rough Trade in 1986 to highlight the rise of various different Indie bands. Now the scene can be seen (haha) as a landmark musical era, giving rise to many different bands similar to the Sixties, after the Beatles and the Stones.
After the initial burst of indie bands other genres began to appear, such as shoegaze, which was basically neo-psychedelia. This involved being very trippy and having long hair and wearing paisley shirts. These bands were influenced by The Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett being the dominant factor here. The Doors and the Velvet Underground were also cited as big influences. This big Sixties revival eventually led onto Britpop, with such bands as Oasis and Blur, and so the rest is history as they say .
Lastly, Cherry Red Records have released compilation CD’s of these C86 bands called C86-C87 C88, detailing the bands who put out their own stuff by themselves or on small labels.
A treasure trove indeed.