V/A Heroes of the Night: Punk, Pop & Wave from the UK Underground ’79–’83 LP
I’ve seen more than one reference to this new collection of femme-fronted UK obscurities as being a “female new wave Killed By Death” or some variation on that theme—sure, most of the 45s from which these tracks were pulled are certified triple-digit bonzers, but the content here would more generously qualify as “punky” (rather than “punk”) and the unfulfilled commercial aspirations on display across the board are much higher than scum stats would suggest, so don’t expect to find any raw and messy new wave counterparts to TEDDY AND THE FRAT GIRLS included. My take? If you flipped your lid for those Subnormal Girls comps from a few years back and you’re as down with skinny-tied guitar solos as art-schooled clatter while trawling the scattered histories of women making music in the post-punk era, you probably already know that this is a required pick-up. A couple of standouts therein: the soft-glow power pop of the RUSSIANS’ “No Title” essentially détournés (and one-ups) the BOYS’ canonical “Terminal Love,” CHEAP CINEMA’s “Fade Away” splits the difference between Bomp!-ed new wave bounce and early Paisley Underground melancholy, “Love is Necessary” by the CRY pairs delicate vocals with some slick and very ’80s keyboard action (YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS gone synth-pop?), and THREE PHASE brings sugary-sweet hooks to retrofuturist minimal wave on “All I Want to Do Is (Fall in Love With You).” I demand a second (and third, and fourth) volume.