The Pooh Sticks

Formula One Generation

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The Pooh Sticks never hid the fact that they were as much music fans as musicians (if not more so). Although numerous influences -- the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, etc. -- weave their way through Formula One Generation, this 1990 release still manages to sound unmistakably like the work of Swansea, Wales' own Pooh Sticks. That's the case even when they tackle the Vaselines' sublime "Dying for It" in their inimitable bubble-punk style (even if they don't put as much of a personal stamp on it as Nirvana did with "Molly's Lips"). Their full-length studio debut was their first to be issued simultaneously in the U.K. and the U.S. (by Sympathy for the Record Industry). It was the gentle, chiming "Teenage High" (an original) that first brought them to the attention of Sympathy founder Long Gone John and was released as a single in 1989 (followed by "Time to Time" in 1990). "Teenage High 2" is, surprisingly enough, a loose cover of G.G. Allin's "NYC Tonite" -- so loose, in fact, that it sounds nothing whatsoever like the late performance punk (and was influenced by Dion, as well, according to Trudi's liner notes). The speedy pop/rocker just may be the best song on the album, although there are no duds here. Formula One Generation, which is -- conveniently enough -- more readily available than most other Pooh Sticks releases, is an essential listen for anyone with an interest in smart power pop.

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