Various Artists

Mod Revival Generation: Time for Action

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This is as good an anthology and introduction to the post-punk mod revival as any CD ever issued, and is surely the jewel of Castle Records' various tie-in releases with the British television series Sounds of Underground London. A phenomenon spawned as a reaction to the excesses of punk rock, and made downright ubiquitous by the timely release of the movie Quadrophenia, the movement centered around a brace of existing music acts, including the Jam, Secret Affair, and the Merton Parkas, who were soon joined by power pop bands turned post-mod posers such as the Lambrettas. Those acts are all represented here, in sharp remasterings of some of their best songs, including "Going Underground" by the Jam, "Poison Ivy" by the Lambrettas (which has an almost reggae feel at times), and "Time for Action" by Secret Affair. Many of these acts, such as Squire, owe a huge amount to the original mod acts of the 1960s -- their "Walking Down the Kings Road" is a near copy of the Small Faces' "Whatcha Gonna Do About It" (which itself was ripped off from Solomon Burke's "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"), with a Who-ish guitar break grafted on. Some of the best tracks here, such as the JetSet's "Wednesday Girl" and the Lambrettas' "Da-a-a-ance," recall their '60s antecedents even more firmly, the former recalling the Who at their most sophisticated pop moments, and the Teenbeats do a direct cover of the Troggs' standard "I Can't Control Myself." What makes this disc such a killer collection, however, isn't that content -- though it helps -- but a brace of live tracks by bands like the Purple Hearts, the Mods, et al., cut at the Bridgehouse in the early days of the boom. Those cuts are killer, down to their last note, and even got this veteran reviewer's pulse pounding.

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