Three Day Week: When the Lights Went Out 1972-1975 is a cousin to the compilations Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs assembled for Ace during the late 2010s; collections intended to document the political upheavals in England, Paris, and the United States during the late '60s and early '70s through pop music. Three Day Week shifts the timeline a little further, chronicling the jumbled mess of the mid-'70s. Taking its time from an eight-week period in early 1974 where the U.K. government placed restrictions on electricity usage for commercial customers, Three Day Week is devoted to music that feels caught between a post-war past and a globalist future, all reflecting a rather grim present. Synthesizers are scattered throughout the 26 tracks on the comp and a fair number of acts pursue uncharted musical territory, often in direct conflict with their peers. Knowing revivals of old-time rock & roll (Ricky Wilde's "The Hertfordshire Rock") sit alongside nasty metallic riffing from Hawkwind ("Urban Guerilla"), dour folk-rock, cheerful bubblegum, theatrical pomp, Baroque pop, and freaked-out ruminations by middle-aged survivors of the '60s, highlighed by the Kinks' "When Work Is Over," which sounds more resonant here than on its parent album, Soap Opera. Stylistically, none of it would seem to fit together, yet Three Day Week underscores how so much British rock & roll of the mid-'70s did not quite fall along the glam, prog, and proto-punk lines that conventional rock history suggests. That makes this comp more than worthwhile as both cultural and musical history, but it's also a tremendous amount of fun for any pop and rock fan with slightly left-of-center tastes.
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine