The Penny Arcade - Lesson Learned ep

Think of an English Summer that never ends. Of beat combos in Chelsea boots with groove in their souls. Of jangly guitars and wah wah pedals and feedback.  Of ice lollies and days in the park and boats on the river. Of an England that was safe and sure and confident. Where you could dream your bohemian dreams and believe. Decked out in the finest John Stephen attire, of course.

Fast forward forty years and put a cd in your stereo. It comes from a band who formed in 1982 as Solid State, back then comprising Nic Jarvis, Andy Kettle and Mark Lester.  In the intervening years, there were name changes and line up changes.  Solid State became Penny Arcade in the late eighties, with Kieron Chatten, Ian Coulson and Ian Mounteney joining Jarvis and Lester.  Then, in the early nineties came Imperial, comprising Jarvis, Chatten, Coulson and Kelly Pardoe.

They toured extensively, with the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, and picked up plaudits from indie connoisseurs such as Steve Lamacq.  They released two singles on YE GODS - Drunk On Josephine in 1995 and Pretty Head in 1996.

But so much for history.  Let’s put it like this.  In 1996, the band produced a selection of the finest English pop to grace your stereo.  There was the psychedelic vibe of Lesson Learned, the instant pop of All Around Her Head, the classic melodies of Staring At The Sun.  Then there was the perfect song structure of  Girl On A Bike, the harmonies of Summer Song and the slower, poignant finale of Cry Away.

The influences ranged from Madchester and Britpop, to Simon & Garfunkel and The Byrds, along with other, home grown icons.  It was all delivered with a Stones-like swagger and nonchalance that came through loud and very clear indeed.

It still does, in fact.  It’s strange to think that these songs were confined to the shelves for seventeen years. Then, brand new label, Plastic Pop records, appears out of nowhere.  The half forgotten lost classic from 96 is revived and issued.  You put the label’s first release in your stereo and are back in the world of wah wah and harmonies and jingle jangle mornings.  Take it in and smile and let your rock and roll dreams live.  With the Lesson Learned ep there’s no doubt that Penny Arcade are back.

Forget austerity, lets dance.

The PennyArcade Facebook page
Plastic Pop Records website
Plastic Pop Records Facebook page
Plastic Pop Records shop

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