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Sound City Beat
DUBLIN ROCK CLASSICS REVISITED AND REFURBISHED
Jackie Hayden, 16 Apr 2012
This is the fourth album from the Irish punk legends The Radiators From Space, for which they resuscitate mostly forgotten songs by Dublin beat groups (as we used to call bands) of the ‘60s and ‘70s. In doing so, they confirm what a stimulating scene the capital had, even back in the dark ages.
But this is no nostalgia-fest: the band and their pals investing these songs with a sonic exuberance that boots them forward into the contemporary age. Spurred on by Pete Holidai, they reinvent Brush Shiels’ ‘Head For The Sun’ as punk Beach Boys, glorious surf-pop with a cheeky smile. Steve Rapid goes all feral on ‘I’m A Kingbee’. Phil Chevron takes Éire Apparent’s ‘Yes, I Need Someone’ through a new wave Byrdsian raga-rock jangle with Henry McCullough, and Them’s ‘Gloria’ is another Rapid tour de force, with the band in fine shouty form over a swaggering backing. Philo’s ‘Dublin’ opens with a poignant Eamon Carr spoken lyric, before Chevron delivers an impassioned paean to the city, decked out with fellow Pogue Terry Woods’ concertina and Moira Averil’s evocative viola. Psych-rock gets an outing in Jimmy Greeley’s ‘Dr. Crippen’s Waiting Room’, tastefully adorned by Chevron’s sitar, and they refashion the first ever Irish rock hit in the USA, ‘You Turn Me On’ by Bluesville, into a cod-sexy party piece dominated by Chevron’s uke (a reference no doubt to lead singer Ian Whitcomb’s vaudevillian then-future).
Sound City Beat has 18 glorious tracks that link the embryonic days of Irish rock with today’s fervid scene. All told, it’s simply bleedin’ brillo.