Look Blue Go Purple

Compilation

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Combining the three separate EPs released by the band during their existence, Compilation serves as a good notice that what distinguished Look Blue Go Purple first and foremost were their qualities as a fine band. Then again, any group with Denise Roughan and Kathy Bull in it was bound to have something special about it, and such was the case. On the one hand, the quintet had the Flying Nun sound about them, or at least insofar as the '80s semi-stereotypes went -- jangly, gently psychedelic, rough, and ready. On the other hand, the combined vocals of Roughan, guitarist Karen Webster, and multi-instrumentalist Norma O'Malley find their own striking synthesis that's much unlike most of the other groups of the time. The band's best member, in truth, might have been drummer Lesley Paris -- she's got a great steady hand on her instruments, propulsive without being overbearing. Her work on songs like "Year of the Tiger" and the dramatic, rumbling rolls of "Hiawatha" and "Vain Hopes," to name just three prime examples, finds her and Bull creating some sharp rhythms that carry everything before them just so. Gentler, almost folky elements recur throughout the collection -- check out "As Does the Sun," on which O'Malley's flute and the echo on the vocals, not to mention the acoustic guitar breaks here and there, add to a dreamy, almost rural edge. O'Malley's keyboards in general, meanwhile, add an attractive glaze to many songs as well, such as "Circumspect Penelope," which also has a cracking Roughan/Webster guitar rush to its credit. Other highlights include "Cactus Cat" -- one of the best pet songs ever written anywhere, with one heck of a great performance all around from the band as well as fine production -- and "I Don't Want You Anyway," led off with a rocking bassline from Bull that turns into an energetic, full-band romp with just a hit of motorik surge gone pop.

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