In late 70s/early 80s England punk was followed by a revival of the Mod look & sound of the mid 60s. The music was a great combination of punk & power pop. Unfortunately this scene was all but completely ignored in the US. Sure the Jam had a small American following and one neo-mod group did have a Top 30 hit stateside (“turning Japanees” by the Vapors) but most Yanks never heard the Chords, the Purple Hearts, the Lambrettas, Merton Parkas or Secret Affair. “On Target” is an excellent intro to this obscure scene. These bands take what the Kinks, Small Faces & Who started and combined it with the “revolution” … & early Clash. Best songs: “when you’re young” by the Jam, “maybe tomorrow” & “British way of life” by the Chords, and “millions like us” by the Purple Hearts.
Cool overlook of UK late 70s/early 80’s mod revival scene with some well known acts as The Jam, The Chords, Secret Affair, Purple Hearts, The Merton Parkas, Squire, The Lambrettas, The Jolt and some lesser known bands as Back To Zero, Teenbeats, The Nips, Small World, The Killermeters, The Circles…20 Direct Hits, Dig!!!
Though they never received the recognition they deserved, Squire was undoubtedly one of the earliest and finest Mod Revival bands of the late 70s. Squire were able to transcend the limits of the genre with their high quality pop which drew equal parts from punk spirit and the 1960s.
Named because they rehearsed above a shop called Squires, this lot went to school with Paul Weller in Woking, Surrey and formed in Guildford not long after JAM as a covers band consisting of Enzo Esposito (vocals/bass), Steve Baker (guitar) and Ross Di’Landa (drums).
In June 1978, songwriter/guitarist Anthony Meynell joined just prior to a high profile gig opening for The Jam. The addition of Meynell changed the band’s focus to producing original material, and by 1979, they had released their first single for ROK Records, Get Ready to Go.
‘Get Ready’ focuses on the early work of the original lineup from their mod days. This release supplants Hits from 3000 Years Ago by picking the highlights (most of the album) and combining their first single, the brilliant “Get Ready Go,” with B-sides, previously unreleased material, a track from the Odd Bods, Mods and Sods compilation, and a track from a fan club release.
Somewhere between the delicate power pop of Shoes and the classy British pop of mid-period Jam sits the wonderful world of Squire. No, not Billy “The Stroke” Squier. This is Squire, the groovy mod trio fronted by Anthony Meynell, one of pop music’s unsung heroes. Spanning the years 1980-1984, this exceptional compilation concentrates on the latter half of the band’s career, and contains almost their entire Get Smart album. By this point in the band’s career, Meynell had tired of the musical restrictions that the mod scene had thrust upon him. Adding more overdubs in the studio (including a horn section), Meynell created some of the brightest, most exhilarating, guitar-based pop music of the early ’80s. Sidestepping such influences as the Who and the Kinks, and embracing Lennon’s edge from the Beatles (“No Time Tomorrow”), and the bright, sunny vibe from the Monkees (“Standing In The Rain”), Squire did not create disposable pop, they created timeless pop. Many of these tracks could have been released in the mid-’60s or even in the early ’90s at the height of Brit-pop. “Every Trick In The Book Of Love,” “You’re the One,” “My Mind Goes Round In Circles,” “Girl On A Train,” “Stop That Girl,” and “Take A Look” are nothing less than perfect pop songs. When Meynell puts down his pen and records a cover version (including Shoes’ “Boys Don’t Lie” and Big Star’s “September Gurls”), the results are nothing less than Squire-like. Mod and power pop fans should keep their eyes peeled for this gem of a CDs. It’s worth the hype![Stephen SPAZ Schnee]
While briefly retiring the Squire name, Meynell issued this album of unreleased tracks under his own name in 1981. Not surprisingly, it sounds just like Squire (in fact, this album boasts an alternate version of the Squire favorite “My Mind Goes Round in Circles”). Once again, the songs are top-notch odes to his ’60s influences. While The Singles Album is a varied collection of songs, Hits from 3000 Years Ago is a far more cohesive album. The songs are filled with an excitement and wild-eyed innocence that may not get punk enthusiasts excited, but mod fans and power pop fans will eat this up with gusto and passion. It’s sugar sweet and ballsy enough to crank up loud while cruising down Main Street on a Saturday night and not be embarrassed about. The music is timeless and more melodic than most albums released in the last 25 years (one tune here has probably more hooks than a modern power pop album). “”I Don’t Get Satisfaction”,””B-A-B-Y Baby Love,” and “To Keep Me Satisfied” are pure magic with power chords! While not Anthony Meynell’s finest work (that honor goes to the Get Smart!), this is solid from beginning to end and actually out-pop’s the excellent Singles Album! [Steve “Spaz” Schnee]
When the Jam moved up from punk upstarts to mod statesmen in 1979, the British kids turned to other mod outfits to satisfy their craving for everything well-dressed and retro. While the Chords followed in the Jam’s footsteps, the three other main contenders for the mod followed different musical paths: Secret Affair were a magical blend of punk, soul and pop with a mild dose of prog; the Lambrettas were straightforward power pop; and Squire were a mix of all of the above and more. In fact, if the mod scene hadn’t existed, Squire would have still made brilliant, timeless records, no matter what was going on around them. While only releasing one full-fledged album (Get Smart!), singer/songwriter Anthony Meynell would embrace the ’60s wholeheartedly while releasing a batch of singles that still managed to sound contemporary while exposing the many influences he wore on his sleeve.
The Singles Album, originally released in 1985, features 17 moments of inspired pop genius that will appeal to fans of mod, power pop and ’60s inspired ecstasy. Meynell and his mates created songs that could have easily topped the charts in the mid-’60s but were virtually ignored during the late ’70s and early ’80s. Making records that did not bear the stamps of modern production (synths, programmed drums, etc.) may have not helped their careers in the short run, but Squire’s releases sound so much better for it more than two decades later. While some would accuse them of being mere copyists, Squire may beg, borrow and steal from the best, but they still sound like Squire! “No Time Tomorrow” borrows heavily from the Fab Four’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” while tracks like “Don’t Cry to Me” and “I Know a Girl” reach back to their simple Merseybeat days. “My Mind Goes Round in Circles” recalls the best of the Who’s early pop epics. From the punk power of “Get Ready to Go” to the glorious Baroque pop of “Every Trick in the Book of Love,” this remains one of the most cruelly overlooked compilations from the early ’80s. [Steve “Spaz” Schnee]