The Scenics - Sunshine World: Studio Recordings 1977-78
Along with Simply Saucer, The Scenics are one of the greatest punk bands of the old school era, though if you live outside Canada you probably never heard of them (unless you happen to have seen the 1979 documentary "The Last Pogo). Yet they, like so many other unsung bands who found the key to freedom through punk, Scenics exploded with inspiration, smarts and greasy sharp rhythms. "Sunshine World" collects various studio tracks from the late 70s, and showcases the band's ability to slide easily among punk, post-punk and no-wave, a document of a band that held its own with the likes of Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols and Pere Ubu.
Gems abound here, from the Lou Reed meets Weezer squawk of "Do The Wait" to "Great Pile of Leaves" no-fi power pop. "I'm hurt" as a classic Fall esque choppy confidence, while "Gotta Come Back Here" is droning sludge, ala Feedtimeor Drunks With Guns. There are also two covers; The Kinks' "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" is rather pedestrian, but The Scenics whittle down Tommy James' "Mony Mony" to an abstract drone, brittle, scarred and barely recognizable.
The best track is "Wild Trout," which mixes a little Eastern, a little Outsider dementia, into post-rock irrational brilliance. As good as anything from the period, which says a lot. It all ends on a weird note, the ten minute plus "Scenic Caves," a weird blend of acid rock, ambient interludes, and fuzzy freakout.
The Scenics returned to the map in 2008, with a comp of live cuts, "How Does It Feel to Be Loved? The Scenics play the Velvet Underground." This lead to the band reforming for a series of gigs, and to the release of this new/old collection. "Sunshine World: studio recordings 1977-78" sounds fresh and daring today as it did back then, when few were listening. The Scenics may not hit the big time this second go-round, but this peak into their past shows that they belong there.
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