Dave & Lee Singles Collection LP

Mod teen Dave Burnett and his family emigrated from the UK and settled in Melbourne, Australia in late 1965. Shortly after arriving, he met local musician Lee Cutelle, and they quickly became life-long friends and forged a songwriting partnership—Dave wrote the lyrics and Lee wrote the music—that would last from 1966 to 1980. Reminder has pulled together their total recorded output from that period and packaged it in a very handsome gatefold sleeve with some sweet liner notes detailing their history. But to summarize, these guys would write some really catchy songs that should have been bigger than they were, fail to sell many records, then rebrand and adopt whatever sound was popular at the time. So, we start with the lone 45 from DAVE ‘N’ LEE, originally issued in 1969—two tracks of orchestrated psych-pop that fall somewhere on the spectrum between early BYRDS records and the COWSILLS. Next are the two 45s from BEAUT, named after an Aussie version of Tiger Beat and sounding like a mix of AM schmaltz and late ’70s power pop. After getting wind of the first wave of UK punk, they decided to toughen up a bit and release a 45 as BRANDED, where they played SWEET-like glam with just a dab of punk in the rough production. Then they tried their hand at punk proper in 1980, releasing a 45 as BRITISH JETS. It sounds like fake punk (because it is), but it produced what I think is the best song on the record. “No News”, which sounds surprisingly contemporary, is just some solid RAMONES-core with a catchy power pop chorus. It’s great! It’s hard to say this release is essential, but there’s plenty to love here if you’re able to stomach this much saccharine.