Sunday, November 16, 2014

SPAZ reviews the four CD box set MILLIONS LIKE US: THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL



MILLIONS LIKE US: 
THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL
(4CD/100 tracks)

I was a Mod fan before you was a Mod fan!

First off, let me be perfectly clear: I was never a Mod. I was never dapper or thin enough to look good in snappy clothes and ride a scooter.  Even when I was 16 back in ’79, I was too much of a dork to ever follow any type of fashion.  Besides, all of my money went to records back then anyway.  So, while I bought every Mod-related single and LP I could get my hands on, I was never technically a Mod.


The Mod look was always sharp and cool. Since it was a UK based ‘movement’, I never quite understood its roots back in the day – all I knew was that the music was amazing.  Sure, some of the bands were more than likely fashion followers and had been Punk acts before slipping into Mod suits, but if the songs were good, then it didn’t matter. To me, it has always been about the music, which is why I loved Punk, Mod, New Wave, Power Pop and any other form of guitar-fueled, hook-filled Pop/Rock yet never dressed the part.  OK, I had a few Jam t-shirts, but that was about it.  I tried the skinny-tie thing a few times but gave up because everyone else did it so much better. 

The original Mod scene in the ‘60s faded out after a few years, although bands like The Who and Small Faces/Faces would continue long after the scene died.  Miraculously, when The Jam released their career-defining album All Mod Cons in 1978, it inspired the underground Mods to come out of hiding and create the Mod Revival scene.  Again, it was a short-lived movement, but it had a ripple effect that still inspires bands today much like the original Mod scene had. 


So, what does ‘Mod’ sound like?  Well, like many other musical movements, there are different subgenres of Mod – the punky Mod, the Rhythm & Blues Mod, the Power Poppy Mod and mixtures of all three.  The bands seldom sounded exactly alike but the one thing they had in common was that their songs were short, energetic, melodic and often-times anthemic.  The songs were pop songs at the core and easy to sing along to.  They were songs that made you feel like you were part of the scene even if you lived on another continent.  The movement did in fact spill over into the U.S. although it was overshadowed by all the different ‘new music’ scenes that were sweeping the country.  The original Mod Revival scene may have been born in the UK, but it spread across the globe although it was not quite as influential in other regions outside ol’ Blighty. 

Instead of me trying to explain Mod any further (and making an ass of myself), I would recommend that you rush out and grab yourselves a copy of MILLIONS LIKE US – THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL, an amazing set that features nearly every major Mod band – The Jam are the only main band missing – and stands as one of the best box set releases of the year.  I bought tons of singles and albums back in the day but missed out on so much because I never saw it in local L.A. or O.C shops here in Southern California.  While there have been Mod comps over the years, this is the one that you need to own whether you have purchased those other comps or not.  Yes, there are tracks here that have made it on CD in the past, but MILLIONS LIKE US – THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL is so comprehensive that I can only find ONE fault with it.  Yes, only one!  And what is that, you ask?  Well, this set doesn’t include The Killermeters’ “Twisted Wheel”, one of my favorite Power Pop/Mod singles ever.  But hey, that is only a minor gripe (and I can find that song on the deleted This Is Mod Vol. 2, so at least I have it on CD). Elsewhere, all the greats are here including Squire, The Lambrettas, The Chords, Secret Affair, The Merton Parkas, The Purple Hearts, Nine Below Zero and loads of others.  Other highlights include The Donkeys (oh, how I love The Donkeys), New Hearts (pre-Secret Affair band), The Crooks, The Nips (featuring a pre-Pogues Shane MacGowan),  Seventeen (an early incarnation of The Alarm), The Truth (Dennis Greaves’ post-Nine Below Zero outfit), The Q-Tips (fronted by blue-eyed Soul vocalist Paul Young, who later achieved solo success), The Jetset (Mod meets The Monkees), Dee Walker, Eleanor Rigby, etc.  The music contained in this set spans a 12 year period (1977-89) and is absolutely solid from beginning to end.  The main focus is on the UK scene but there are plenty of other artists here that represent other countries like France and the U.S. 


MILLIONS LIKE US – THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL is an amazing collection of delectable guitar Pop songs  that will hopefully inspire a new generation of musicians and show them how a proper tune is written! There are 100 examples here!


For fans of the Mod Revival, Power Pop, Punk, Garage Rock, Psych Rock and New Wave. 


Peace, Love, and Pancakes,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

MILLIONS LIKE US: 
THE STORY OF THE MOD REVIVAL

Available
12.16.14

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