Various Artists - Alive In The Living Room
1) TV Personalities - A Day In Heaven
2) Jasmine Minks - Seven And Seven Is
3) June Brides - I Fall
4) The Legend! - Arrogant Bastards
5) The Three Johns - AWOL
6) The Loft - Your Door Shines Like Gold
7) The Pastels - Hurricane Fighter Plane
8) The Mekons - Rock 'n' Roll Shoes
9) The Legend! - Sweet Soul Music
10) Jasmine Minks - Green Fuz
11) Alternative TV - Lonely Lenny
12) TV Personalities - Three Wishes
It is quite fitting really that the first album from the Creation label should emulate the first single release in being totally awful. The Living Room was the tiny London club run by Alan McGee from August 1983 to February 1984 that eventually grew into the Creation Records label and the album features some live tracks recorded during its brief, but thrilling, period of existence. This release may well have been quite decent had it been better recorded, but as it is, it sounds worse than a dodgy bootleg and the only interest is in getting some insight into the early abilities of the bands later to feature on the label the Jasmine Minks, the Pastels and the Loft and in seeing how their songs developed from the early versions played here. The poor quality means the whole thing is really bordering on the unlistenable, though if you had to pick some better moments, the TV Personalities are always worth a listen and have a go at the June Brides track if the noise doesn't set your teeth on edge. The live tracks are interspersed with brief snippets of interviews and the whole thing ends up with a staged recreation of the moment the club was closed down by the authorities for breaching fire regulations. The first, and quite possibly the worst, album the label ever put out. It can only go up from here!
Various Artists - Wild Summer Wow
1) The Pastels - Something's Going On
2) The Loft - Winter
3) Biff Bang Pow! - There Must Be A Better Life
4) Revolving Paint Dream - In The Afternoon
5) The Legend! - Melt The Guns
6) X-Men - Talk
7) The Pastels - Stay With Me Till Morning
8) Jasmine Minks - Think!
The first of Creation's enormous collection of compilation albums was ostensibly released to counteract the growing prices being paid for the label's early singles, all pressed in batches of 1,000 and quickly sold out and deleted. How much real impact a release featuring three a-sides and four b-sides would make on this market is debatable, but the album was priced to be sold at £3.99 in the first example of the label 'doing it for the kids'. The eight tracks, lasting around 26 minutes, additionally featured The Loft's 'Winter' not previously released and, as always, the band shines, even if the drums were recorded in a nearby cupboard. Of the singles, only the Pastels' 'Something Going On' (single 5) is included in its entirety, both sides typically endearing, shambling but thoughful pop. The X-Men's 'Talk' (single 6) is a genuinely good punkabilly thrash that still sounds fresh, and the Jasmine Minks' debut single 'Think!' (single 4) bubbles along nicely on a bouncing fretless bass line, with dancing guitars, stuttering drums and plenty of shouts. 'There Must Be A Better Life' (single 7) stomps along meaningfully with its Dave Clark Five drumming, with the Revolving Paint Dream's 'In The Afternoon' (single 2) remaining a top tune, having lost none of its hypnotic potency over the years. And there's also a track by The Legend!
Jasmine Minks - 1234567, All Good Preachers Go To Heaven
1) The 30 Second Set Up
2) What’s Gone Wrong
3) Somers Town
4) Ghost of a Young Man
5) Mr Magic
6) Where the Traffic Goes
The debut from the Jasmine Minks was also the first album proper from Creation, following on from the live montrosity and the first of the label’s ubiquitous compilations. Housed in a sleeve oddly reminiscent of Merciful Release, this was more of a mini-album than a complete statement. Indeed the band had recorded four tracks they hoped would be released as EP, but the label had other ideas, dropping the song ‘Cold Heart’ and adding the aborted single ‘Ghost of a Young Man’, along with the earlier single ‘Where The Traffic Goes’ and its B-side ‘Mr Magic’. On the whole ‘Preachers’ inhabits the r ‘n’ b territory worked most recently by the mid-1970s Essex bands who had laid the foundations for punk. Joe Foster’s beefy production bounces along a promising collection of well-constructed songs loaded with widdly organ and manly harmonies, culminating in the band’s best known track at the time, a homage to The Who that had been the label’s eighth single release. The gaps between the songs on side one were closed as the band disliked the idea of silence on a record and this works to good effect, infusing the record with an energy that is sadly lost on the more disjointed side two, containing tracks recorded at different times. The throwaway ‘Mr Magic’ is the low point of what is really a very good start for the band.
Biff Bang Pow! - Pass The Paintbrush, Honey
1) There Must be A Better Life
2) Lost Your Dreams
3) Love And Hate
4) The Chocolate Elephant Man
6) Colin Dobbins
7) Wouldn't You?
8) A Day Out With Johnny Chester
Extra tracks on CD release
The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel
The fourth album release, and second proper, from the label was from the band of label bosses Alan McGee and Dick Green. As with the Jasmine Minks’ debut release, Pass The Paintbrush, Honey is more of a mini album cobbled together from various recordings and clocking in at around 23 minutes. Soundwise, the album is firmly rooted in the 1960s, but it is far from generic with a whole range of ideas being thrown into the mix. The album opens with the label’s ninth single release ‘There Must be A Better Life’, an atmospheric stomp with an echoing production that does it no harm at all. ‘Lost Your Dreams’ is encouragingly inventive and the very decent ‘Love And Hate’ is let down only by the vocals being far too low in the mix. Similar problems affect ‘The Chocolate Elephant Man’, while ‘Waterbomb!’ is an interesting instrumental. ‘Colin Dobbins’ is slick, but on the down side ‘Wouldn’t You?’ tries a bit too hard and ‘A Day Out With Jeremy Chester’ is a four minute slab of pyschedelia that is neither inventive nor particularly captivating. Overall, the album lacks some coherence with too much going on, and with too much variation in the quality of the recordings, but it is certainly a debut of some promise.
Various Artists - It's Different for Domeheads
1) The Loft - Why Does The Rain
2) The Jasmine Minks - Where The Traffic Goes
3) Primal Scream - It Happens
4) The Pastels - Baby Honey
5) Biff Bang Pow! - Love And Hate
6) Slaughter Joe - Napalm Girl
7) The Bodines - Paradise
8) The Weather Prophets - Worm In My Brain
Two a-sides, four b-sides, an album track and a unreleased track made up the second Creation compilation It's Different For Domeheads, the 'it's' appearing on the front cover but not on the labels or the spine of the cover. The album opens with the Loft's debut single, a marvellous, forlorn jangle, and the first of many Peter Astor compositions to focus on the inclemency of the weather. 'Where The Traffic Goes' (single 8) isn't the Minks at their best, whereas Primal Scream's 'It Happens' (single 17) is one of their finest early moments with jangly guitars and good lyrics that more than compensate for the slightly shaky vocal delivery. 'Baby Honey' is the Pastels in top form; longer, darker and heavier than most of their output, this is a fine piece of contemporary pyschedelia with stronger, less plaintive vocals and some nice brass flourishes. 'Love and Hate' was taken off the Pass The Paintbrush, Honey album, while 'Napalm Girl' was the b-side of the debut single by the label's in-house producer Joe Foster (single 19), a feedback-fuelled guitar collision, though with the noise much lower in the mix than on the explosive early tracks from the Mary Chain. Another label cock-up meant this track failed to appear on the CD version which included a-side 'I'll Follow You Down' by mistake, though 'Napalm Girl' remained credited. 'Paradise' was the b-side of the Bodines debut (single 16) and is a very decent indie jangle from a band who never reaped the success they deserved. 'Worm In My Brain' is an introduction to the Weather Prophets, the album thus opening with the Loft and concluding with the band who emerged from that band's ashes.
The Membranes - The Gift of Life
1) Shot By My Own Gun
2) I Am Fish Eye
3) Dreadful Sound Engine
4) Green And Ghostly Land
5) More Skin And Bone
6) Mr Charisma Brain
7) Barbed Snake Fish Thing
8) Chewing The Fat
9) Typical Male Penis
11) Gift Of Life
Blackpool noise merchants The Membranes were meant to be the first band signed to Creation, but the deal apparently fell though when the fledgling label could not afford to pay their studio bill for the recording of the 'Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder' single which was ultimately issued on Criminal Damage and hit the top five of the indie singles chart. The follow-up 'Death To Trad Rock' went to number two before Creation finally got their hands on the band and issued their debut full length LP in 1985. Having lost their usual studio engineer, John Brierley, the band were unhappy with his replacement and the poor, muffled sound of the final recording failed to capture the band's ferocious live roar. Not that this is a gentle listen; howling guitars, largely indecipherable singing, thumping basses and primitive drums all add to the chaos as The Membranes plough their post-punk furrow. At times the band capture a sound not far off from early PiL, at times the Birthday Party, but all times they create an almighty racket which can be very pleasing indeed. 'More Skin And Bone' is glorious and the title track has everything but the kitchen sink thrown into the mix in a huge finale. The down side is that all the songs are too long and the inordinate length of the album doesn't help the sound quality on this vinyl-only release. You get the impression if the band had spent a little more thought on quality and less on raising hell they could have emerged as one of the most important bands around. 'Green And Ghostly Land' is one example; it's good but it could have been momentous.
The Jasmine Minks - The Jasmine Minks
1) I Don’t Know
2) Cold Heart
4) The Ballad of Johnny Eye
6) Forces Network
7) Like You
9) You Take My Freedom
10) Cry for a Man
If the debut mini-album had whetted the appetite, the first complete collection from the Minks may well have raised a few eyebrows. Despite the band’s intentions to keep the record ‘modern’, this trumpet-infused mod soul stomp is so embedded in the 1960s it can be hard to get a handle on it today. In its better moments it brings to mind The Who’s ‘My Generation’ album, but at times its clumsiness can grate, not aided by an unimpressive production. Most of the quality is on side two where ‘Like You’ and ‘You Take My Freedom’ raise the bar, but it is two tracks recorded much earlier and added at the label’s insistence that really steal the show. ‘Forces Network’, originally intended for an EP along with what became the ‘What’s Happening?’ single, almost breaks into contemporary conciousness in a primitive Brit-pop sort of way, whilst the highlight remains the label’s 25th single release ‘Cold Heart’, originally recorded in the Preachers sessions. This is a terrific shamble-along, drenched in Hammond organ, lit by a pleasantly uncomplicated guitar solo and underlined by a lyrical reference to the band itself, never a bad thing. Strangely, this was to be the band’s last single for the label despite them releasing two more albums; perhaps the disappointment of this first full-length offering knocking the label’s confidence in their charges.
The Chills - Kaleidoscope World
1) Rolling Moon
2) Pink Frost
3) Hidden Bay
4) Satin Doll
6) Kaleidoscope World
7) Purple Girl
This release marked the first time the label had looked abroad to licence a release from a band who were huge in their own country. The Chills had made a considerable impact in their native New Zealand from their first appearance on vinyl on a compilation of bands from Dunedin released in 1982. With a fluent line-up based around the talents of singer and guitarist Martin Phillipps, the band's 60s influenced mildly psychedelic pop songs had received no major promotion in the country but had made considerable dents on the local charts. This Creation compilation features eight of the ten tracks that had been released by the Flying Nun label from 1982 to 1985 and features three a-sides, three b-sides and two tracks from that early Dunedin collection. The highlights are 'Pink Frost', their second single, a gentle, haunting number; 'Doledrums', the third single, a tale of dole woes firmly rooted in the 1960s; and the title track which is a charming pop tune with all the instruments muddling along together in the background. 'Hidden Bay' is a light, psychedelic trip spoiled by the fact it only runs to a minute and a half, and you could probably live without the live number 'Flame-Thrower', one of the b-sides of their first release, though it hints the band live may well have been a pretty powerful force. The album didn't move mountains over here, but it is well worth a listen.
Felt - Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death
1) Song For William S Harvey
2) Ancient City Where I Lived
3) The Seventeenth Century
4) The Palace
5) Indian Scriptures
6) The Nazca Plain
7) Jewel Sky
8) Viking Dress
9) Voyage To Illumination
10) Sapphire Mansions
There was a lot of excitement when it was announced that Creation had signed the semi-legendary Felt from rivals Cherry Red in 1986. With four albums already under their belt and their last single being the stunning 'Primitive Painters' featuring the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser, the band had a considerable and passionate cult following and their support were keen to find out what sound would emerge following the departure from the band of classically-trained guitarist and co-songwriter Maurice Deebank. And there was palpable disappointment when the first release from the new label turned out to be a ten-track album of short instrumental pieces, ranging from just 57 seconds to two minutes 47 seconds, and lasting just 18 minutes. Often these tracks were too short to register on your conciousness, with the pointless snippet of lounge music, 'Jewel Sky', being the worst offender. At the other end of the scale 'Song For William S Harvey' is an enjoyable whizzy number, aided by the fact it is one of only four tracks that manage to make it to two minutes. There is a nice irony in 'The Seventeenth Century' only lasting two minutes and eight seconds, and 'Sapphire Mansions' shows the band at their bouncy best, but the album remains a disappointment despite the high points at either end.
Various Artists - Purveyors Of Taste
1) The Bodines - Therese
2) Felt - I Didn't Mean To Hurt You
3) Primal Scream - Velocity Girl
4) The Jasmine Minks - Cold Heart
5) Biff Bang Pow! - Love's Going Out Of Fashion
6) The Weather Prophets - Like Frankie Lymon
7) Meat Whiplash - Don't Slip Up
The third Creation compilation could no longer justify itself on the grounds of making available tracks that were difficult to find, as the label's single releases, housed in proper sleeves after No.20, were now produced in larger numbers and were far easier to obtain. So, this release is little more than a taster of the label, hence the title and the tasteless artwork. It was also the worst value release to date, runnning to just seven tracks and totalling just over 20 minutes, containing four a-sides, two b-sides and one new track. The album opens with the terrific Bodines and their most famous number, the single 'Therese', strangely their weakest ever a-side. 'I Didn't Mean to Hurt You' was the b-side of Felt's debut single 'Ballad Of The Band' which gave the first clues as to how the band would approach their work for the label. The track is a mumbling apology with Lawrence's vocal deliberately kept subdued in the mix, and it works terrifically well. 'Velocity Girl' is another highlight from the Scream's early days, well constructed with good vocal timing, whilst 'Cold Heart' remains one of the Minks' finest achievements. 'Loves Going Out Of Fashion' isn't the best offering from the founder's band and probably not really deserving of a single release, while the Weather Prophets' offering is smart enough, professional and crafted, but helps underline how the new band would never be as vital as The Loft always were. Meat Whiplash were the label's hopes to emulate the success of the Mary Chain with their feedback storm 'Don't Slip Up' which found little success but was fairly decent nonetheless.
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