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Popical Island Compilation #2
Shiny happy people crank out even more stellar garage pop
Celina Murphy, 09 Jun 2011
When the first Popical Island Compilation plopped into our laps last year, little was known about the colourful lo-fi collective, other than the fact that the heart-shaped archipelago from which it gets its name looks like nothing you’d spot off the east coast of Ireland.
12 months on, there’s no ignoring the Popical Island workshop, as it happily churns out compilations, EPs and (possibly in a bid to ape the consistently wacky Mariah Carey) even a Christmas album. Then there’s a smattering of full-length debut LPs, including Groom’s enchanting 10-tracker Marriage, Big Monster Love’s thoroughly batty, but also rather enchanting Game Over and most recently, Yeh Deadlies’ The First Book Of Lessons.
Volume One featured tracks from better known Islanders Squarehead, Groom and Land Lovers, who all return for Volume Two, along with another 15 of Ireland’s best indie pop acts. This time around, the Popical Island treasury marries the urgency of ‘60s surf rock with the dreamy sway of ‘80s noise pop; in other words, this is the sound of dozens of Marine Girls and Dick Dale and the Del Tones soundalikes, catapulted into the twenty tens.
Michael Knight’s ‘Hang On, I Need To Count The Stops’ is a borderline ragtime piana (that’s right, I said piana) ditty with a crisp, experimental vocal; ‘She Dreams In Spectrals’ by We Are Losers is the grunge pop gem that the ‘90s missed out on; and the shimmering ‘Hung Like A Noose’ by Yeh Deadlies climaxes with some delicate Hawaiian guitar.
Elsewhere, highlights include the imperfect beat box rock on Sea Pink’s ‘Ode To Joe’, the mellow horns on The Walpurgis Family’s surf jam ‘Something Wild’ and everything about Ginnels’ lightheaded scuzzball of a tune, ‘Locals’.
But it’s not the diversity among the bands on Compliation #2 that’s important, it’s the similarities. You can’t tar all 18 acts with the one proverbial brush, but you can spot a powerful musical kinship a mile off. Crackpot closer ‘Popicalia’ has even been composed in tribute to the Island’s monthly club night, with Retarded Cop man Gaz Le Rock howling “Popicalia, the place is always packed/ Popicalia, Well, I have sex in the jacks.”