# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Various - C85

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 8 / 11 / 2022

Various - C85
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Cherry Red is finally going back in time from the iconic ‘C86’ compilation to bring us this three CD box set of early UK indiepop, and Tommy Gunnarsson surely is delighted.

After re-releasing the iconic ‘C86’ compilation as a 3CD box set back in 2014, Cherry Red has continued to explore the UK indie scene of the 80s by compiling box sets for 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. The first three of those are jampacked with excellent indie pop nuggets, but the closer we get to the 90s the more depressing it is to listen to them. I wrote a review of the ‘C90’ compilation for Pennyblackmusic when it came out a few years ago, and even though the box set in itself was flawless as always, the musical content was rather the opposite, and I can’t imagine what 1991 could bring to make it any better. And it seems that Cherry Red has realised this as well, as the next instalment in the series instead brings us back in time from 1986, to a time when indie and indie pop was still quite a new phenomenon, but also at some sort of peak quality wise. The Smiths had released their first single three years earlier, and bands like The Housemartins and The Wedding Present took their jangly pop and made it their own – either with political messages or balalaika style guitars (as with the two examples here). But things weren’t always as jangly then as it may seem these days, and that is also proven on the third disc in this box set, where the spotlight is instead on the “harder” bands of the era, like Meat Whiplash and Bog-Shed. Many of the bands in this sub-genre of sorts were released by labels like Ron Johnson or Creation, with distortion and feedback being a natural element in the bands’ soundscapes. As usual with the Cherry Red box sets, they like to include a lot of rarities, often in the shape of songs previously unreleased on CD, but also unreleased demos etc, and there are a few of them on this compilation as well. We are also treated to some early singles by bands who would go on to bigger fame in the forthcoming years, like Del Amitri and The Stone Roses. The booklet is jampacked with photos and information, with track-by-track facts and an introductory essay by Neil Taylor, who compiled the original ‘C86’ cassette for the NME (and he also wrote the excellent ‘C86 & All That’ book a few years ago). If you bought the C-compilations following ‘C86’, and also thought that the 90s brought nothing but dread (sure, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but you know what I mean), I can really recommend you to check out this one instead! Fingers crossed that there will be a ‘C84’ coming up soon!

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