The other day I took a long hard look at my CD collection and wondered how many of the discs that I love from the 90s and beyond ever got a vinyl release?
There’s clearly a treasure trove of great psych pop albums which are just waiting for someone to re-package them.
Sugarbush Records seem to agree with me, for in recent years the enterprising label has taken a series of superb digital only releases and put them out on vinyl. The Junipers’ Paint The Ground, is a classic example (there’s a new album from them soon ) and the label have also issued two Orgone Box gems in Centaur and The Lorne Park Tapes.
Latest to get the vinyl resurrection is Duncan Maitland’s Lullabies For The 21st Century an album that originally made its digital debut in 2012.
Such is the quality of the album that it was clearly a no brainer for Sugarbush to issue it on vinyl, in this case a striking psychedelic purple. So, let me tell about Duncan Maitland. He might not be too familiar, but he has a pretty impressive pop CV that includes stints with everyone from XTC to Honeybus’ Colin Hare. He currently lives in Ireland and so not surprisingly this has a whiff of a Pugwash (who he plays with sometimes) album about it in that there are obvious debts to XTC, The Beach Boys and The Beatles.
Lullabies feels like a proper old fashioned pop album too – one that rewards repeated listens. It washes over you, but in a good way and before long you’ll be humming the melodies, marvelling over the arrangements and generally falling in love with it.
Highlights – well the opener, Your Century, is a glorious entree – kicking off with 70s-esque guitars which break into a wonderful Beach Boys Surf’s Up era chorus. The spectre of the Wilson Brothers also hangs over Crash Position and the big slowie Handbirds, which both remind me of bands like The Pearlfishers and The Sunchymes in their slow build and gloriously uplifting choruses. I am also smitten with the album’s closer – Insect Under the Stone – which marries a shuffling jazzy beat to a wistful tune. It reminds me a little of Martin Newell’s fun, but rather odd Light Programme album. Up To You is another gem that’s an intriguing mix of Magical Mystery Tour Fabs, ELO and That’s All by Genesis and Lucky You is a 70s AM perfection.
The only downer is that, Two Of A Kind, his genius Syd Barrett cover, never made the cut. It really is one of the few Syd covers that trumps the original.
Nevertheless this is a wonderful album and it is wonderful to have it on vinyl. If you ever love The Beach Boys, Pugwash or adventurous 60ish melodic pop you will cherish this. Highly recommended.
Now Duncan, how about some new tunes?
Buy Lullabies on vinyl here.