April 14, 2024

Manic Street Preachers – The Ultra Vivid Lament

The first thing to mention is this was written after Nicky Wire lost both of his parents just before the pandemic, and continuing into lockdown the album, or at least its lyrics, reflects sadness, insecurities and loneliness. The loneliness of being an orphan is real even well into middle age. Been there myself. But more than that it makes you reflect on and see the world altogether differently, probably due to the heightened sense of your own mortality.

Pete Townshend – Scoop

We kick off with an acoustic version of So Sad About Us, complete with intro by Pete himself. A lovely demonstration of Townshend’s guitar prowess. But, alas, at 2:26 it abruptly stops and heads straight into Brr. Brr is a great piece of music that sounds like it would fit on Rough Mix (1977) quite happily but I’d have preferred it if the entirety of So Sad had survived. Zelda is a standout from side one for me, it reminded me of Michael Nyman (reviewed here too) with the ‘heartbeat’ of violin going through the entire track, and as far as I know, appeared nowhere else other than this compilation. I couldn’t see it on any Who album but it would have played nicely with other solo stuff I think.

Uppers On The South Downs

Having lived through, and been very much a part of the Mod Revival scene in the late 70s and early 80s, the only band I’d seen live or really heard of from this collection was Purple Hearts. They were quite popular at the time among my friends, and they recorded several fairly iconic albums such as Beat That and Head On Collision Time, featuring the Mod classic Frustration.