Various Artists

This Is Mod: The Best of British

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This 20-song anthology of mod revival music is actually itself drawn from a six-volume compilation series, This Is Mod. Presumably this is a best-of that series, or a sampler of sorts to draw you in if you want more. Whatever the concept, it's an adequate survey of the sounds of the mod revival, a style that was over-reverent, derivative, and worked better live than on record, but was at least reasonably sincere. The Purple Hearts, Merton Parkas, and the Untouchables UK, all represented here, were big names in a scene which had little impact beyond its own insular subculture. Others might not even be remembered by those who went through their phase of donning raincoats and riding scooters in the late '70s and early '80s. It's adequate music that crosses the rage of punk and new wave with the straight-ahead, guitar-oriented power pop of original mid-'60s mod, with touches of ska, though it ultimately sounded closer to punk and new wave than the original model. There's room for a bit of self-mocking humor, thankfully, in the Sussed's "I've Got Me Parka." For those who want a more art and ambition in their mod, it's difficult to imagine why you wouldn't stick with the Jam. But there are some nice enough tunes here, especially when they get closer to the spirit of British Invasion hooks, as on the V.I.P.'s' "Need Somebody to Love" and the Graduates' appealingly amateurish "If You Want It." Disappointingly, there are no liner notes at all.

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