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Beechwood Indie Top 20 Compilations

Indie Top 20, Volume 8 (Beechwood TT08) (1990)

Fabulous double album of seering intensity, or lilting pathos. Inspiral Carpets' "Move" is a pop classic that starts the album, followed by especial gems from Dub Sex, with the strongly rhythmic "Time of Life". "Tom Verlaine" by Family Cat is a psychedelic swirl, and Spacemen 3's "Hypnotized" and "Sight of You" by Pale Saints have memorable bass grooves, with a lot of texture and distant vox making for a haunting effect - Saints sound like New Order, with noiz. A Guy Called Gerald's "Hot Lemonade" is strangely hypnotic, Shamen's "Omega Amigo" likewise. Unpigeonholeable! Sugarcubes "Regina" is likewise, with rough and sweet vocals intertwined; Fatima Mansions' "Only Losers Take the Bus", a classical ironic song; Field Mice and Kitchens of Distinction provide well-crafted pop. Thee Hypnotic prove power R 'n' B still lives on in the monumental "Earth Blues" - watch out for guitars in overdrive, super lix, too. Fave track is Sonic Boom's "Angel" - entrancing, enchanting hymn, distinctly moving.

- Paul Rance, Peace & Freedom, Vol. 6, No. 5, Autumn 1990

Indie Top 20, Volume 9 (TT09) (1991) & Volume 10 (TT010) (1991)

Received two more independent compilations from Beechwood in their Indie Top 20 series. 9 is the stronger, and more dance-orientated than Volume 8, a lá Revenge, New Fast Automatic Daffodils, See See Rider, McCarthy & The Farm. The Shamen's prove, once again, that synth dance music can be melodic and interesting, with rap cleverly interspersed. The Soup Dragons' "Mother Universe" is a pop classic, with shades of Marc Bolan's tantalising vocals. Uplifting songs come from The Sundays, Galaxie 500 and The Heart Throbs - with gentle feel. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine's "Sheriff Fatman" is old-time comedy, shades of Peter Sellers - with better music. New Order's "Round & Round" is the only dud, a monotonous, uninspired dance track on a 2LP mixture of better talent than the top (?) 10 is use to.

Onto Volume 10. Side 2 is a lot better than dance-crazy side 1 - well, I was never much of a dancer! Carter are unstoppable again, with misleading overture exploding into a frenzy, following on the heels of The Telescopes putting their guitars to the sword. Other notables are Inspirals' melodic mix of pop and effects; Pixies' powerful, memorable lix on "Velouria"; Spiritualized with "Anyway That You Want Me" - a faithful, swirling colourful rework. Disappointing trax from Shamen and a pseudo-house-sounding Field Mice. Not as fresh-sounding as previous Beechwood comps, but still good. Gorgeous cover, too.

- Paul Rance, Peace & Freedom, Vol. 7, No. 3, Winter 1991/92

Indie Top 20, Volume 12 (TT012CD/CD) (1991)

Back to a more mystical collection of material, compared to Volume 10's Aceed orientation. Spacemen 3's 'Big City' is a masterpiece of drama, with emotion squeezed out of every note and vocal pause; straightforward bubbly pop from St. Etienne, with 'Nothing Can Stop Us'; a 3 in 1 song from Manic Street Preachers; gtrs. mangled, amidst pop normality, on 'Jack' by Moose. Disappointing trax from Charlatans and N.F.A. Daffs.

- Paul Rance, Peace & Freedom, Vol. 7, No. 3, Winter 1991/92

Indie Top 20, Volume 13 (TT013CD/CD) (1991)

Not unlucky 13, and a first offering (for me anyway in this comp. series) from The Stone Roses. The dreaded word ethereal describes 'Precious One' by Chapterhouse, and 'Catch The Breeze' by Slowdive. The latter has an awesome 'I'm Not In Love' vocal barrage which comes and goes like waves. The Telescopes show maturity with one of their more subtle arrangements.

- Paul Rance, Peace & Freedom, Vol. 9, No. 1, Summer 1993

* Confusingly listed as 'Issue 13' not 'Volume 13'.

The Best Of Indie Top 20 (BOTT 001/Vinyl) (1991)

As the separate Beechwood comps were good this is bound to be pure ambrosia. More diverse nd inspirational than the 'NOW' series, which this was aped from. From the slightly sinister Pixies 'Monkey Gone To Heaven', to a whirlpool of sound, via Paris Angels and 'All On You (Perfume)', to the blatant controversy of 'Revolution' by Spacemen 3, this is a definitive late '80s, early '90s indie compilation. Appropriately ending with 'Dreamtime' by The Heart Throbs. Indeed.

- Paul Rance, Peace & Freedom, Vol. 7, No. 3, Winter 1991/92



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Last Modified: 08 September 2013