Thursday 31 October 2019

The Golden Age Of Pop by The Hit Parade

Julian Henry declared last year: “I’m about to go on a spree of releasing 7” singles of songs as I write them, which is how I started off back in 1984.” Following a high-level board meeting at The Hit Parade’s label JSH Records, they realised they had too much pop and the only solution was to release an album.

You’ll be familiar with Henry channelling the young Paul Weller (A Town Called Malice to be precise) on Joey’s Girl, and the highwire drama of Oh Honey I. Those 7” cuts are aperitifs to the fusillade of failure that The Hit Parade wrestle with on The Golden Age Of Pop.

The most immediate choices for that now mythical 7” spree are Burden Of Your Beauty (infectious beat pop with double-tracked harmonies), Come And Visit Leeds (Motown’s hit factory plug in Rickenbacker guitars to soundtrack mascara running in tears) and I’m Recovering From You (The Hit Parade dip their hip to Brazilian rhythms while claiming “I’m only 56 years young”).

Then there’s How Can I Tell, in which the amps are turned up to 11 and the drums pounded in what’s surely a successful bid to add a song to the indie disco canon.

Too much pop, indeed. But proving that The Hit Parade’s appeal reaches beyond the teen market, the flinty folk of The Last Boat On The Dock hymns a whimsical ballad. Phew! So many riches.

The Golden Age Of Pop is out now. The vinyl edition comes with a colour comic, Tales From Planet Pop, charting The Hit Parade’s lack of chart success.

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