The Longest Summer On Record (Volume One) – Various Artists (Raving Pop Blast)
CD / DL / Vinyl
Out 5 May 2019
“A collection of songs from various bands or projects, that have all included Arthur Andrew Jarrett, who first came to ‘indie infamy’ when Garagey-indie-pop group; The Groove Farm released their first DIY record in 1986” Says the blurb – but its One Mans Greatest Bits, 1979 to now -says Ged Babey as he hails the West Country’s garage-punk-psych legend.
This really is my feel-good album of the Summer … well, Spring actually isn’t it – but never mind because this compilation is a treat for all seasons.
Arthur Andrew Jarrett (hereinafter referred to as AAJ) is one of those people who should be far bigger a cult hero than he is. He Could’ve Been as Big as Dan Treacy! But he’s probably on a level with Phil Wilson and Hue from the Pooh Sticks… but in recent years has got his arse in gear and brought out some quite wonderful albums on his Raving Pop Blast label – This compilation is a fantastic introduction to the label, his back catalogue and the man – who really is a Cult National Treasure. (He is quite an irascible man if you follow him on Facebook though, so be warned).
Opening proceedings is a deceptively mellow song with bongos and a bossa-nova lilt : the self descriptive Lo-Fidelity Radio Friendly Summer Hit by The Bluebear. The narrator is listening to the Lovin’ Spoonful (on tape) and wondering if the sunny spell is due to ‘decay of the ozone layer’. It’s summertime but ‘the living aint easy’… it’s a cool start.
Next up is a session version of Beatnik Filmstars favourite Milk. Splendid Brit-power-pop with insistent guitar which is over in the blink of an eye.
(The) Nervous Rex – I Love Your Psychedelic Curtains is probably my favourite track -or at least the one which convinced me that AAJ is some kind of genius. A love song to aesthetics rather than the person. Plastic Beatles figures, Small Faces poster, Vinyl albums by the Action and the Electric Prunes. Plus a dipping bird toy and barking dog are all treasured more than their actual owner..
This collection of songs chosen by Arthur himself, includes a track by The Overloads, (One of several school-days bands) recorded in a caravan in Devon in 1979 (or possibly 1980) pre-dating The Groove Farm by several years.
The collection is a mixed selection and occasionally drifts off into the odd ‘experiment’ (This Is What It Sounds Like Inside My Head Always – by Our Arthur for example) or the ‘Slo-Fi/Sample led sound of Kyoko’s Melt.
But it’s Jarrett’s first love of simple garage pop music, that tends to shine through most of the bands/songs…
Says the Press release – which is quite correct. Twelve of the seventeen songs are fantabulous Sixties Garage Psych homages with knowing attitude… They know they are brilliant pastiches and they know they are righteous and groovy as fuck. They are recreational re-creations made with love on analogue equipment for the sheer thrill rather than profit or acclaim (‘Though a bit of both would be nice’ I can imagine AAJ saying…)
The Total Rejection song – The Legendary Orgasm (Everything In My Mind Is Groovy) uses a looped sample of Beatlemania screams which opens the song before its Can’t Explain guitar slices and runs under the length of the song like the feedback on Upside Down. The wah-wah freakout is sublime too.
I wrote about Bridget (Song for Billy Childish) here when I called it ‘the first piece of great, life-affirming, trash-garage rock’n’roll I’ve heard this year’. And reviewing the Groove Farms latest album here I got carried away and declared ” this is disposable, one-take, one-listen, instant-hit, sugar-rush Pop Music but at the same time it is a priceless form of fuck-austerity, fuck-middle-age, fuck-politics, fuck-the-lot-of-ya punk rock inspired music”. Back Of My Mind from Groovy Pharmacy is on this compilation.
The Beatnik Filmstars Apathetic English Swine is another of many highlights. Sounding like an early Sub-Pop single being involved in a car-crash with a combine harvester as it does!
Wild-Eyed & Restless & Free (Beatnik Filmstars) is the complete works of Teenage Fanclub condensed into one perfect bite-sized chunk.
One of two guitar-lead instrumentals Airbomb Repeaters! – You Have Just Been Murdered is a wonderful piece of surf-punk twangyness, whilst The Electric Banana Meltdown (Our Arthur and the Partial Rejection) is a soundtrack to the party scene in an unmade Sixties movie somewhere between Blow Up and Up The Junction.
I could go on… but suffice to say this album is a total joy. Arthur and friends are outside of everything, business-wise, fashion-wise, but as long as they can reach the audience of like-minded souls then it has all been worth it.
It seems to me that Arthur Andrew Jarrett is one of the teenagers affected by punk but who retained his childhood vision of the Beatles and the Monkees (thru their films and TV series) as being the archetype and gateway to groovier sounds and the Sixties being an imaginary promised land which could only be relived, revisited and evoked by making suitable and familiar music. He succeeds in keeping the mundanity of real-life in this decade at bay by creating his own D-I-Y magical fantasy world and inviting us all in to groove awhile.
God Bless you Arthur. The Longest Summer On Record (Volume One) has brightened up my corner of the Multiverse no end.
Buy from here.
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Upcoming Gigs by The Total Rejection
12 Oct 2019 – Crofters Rights, Bristol
(supporting The Monochrome Set) Tickets
All words by Ged Babey