"the record is a joy from start to finish."

That fabled umbrella of all things groovy, rockin' and primitive - The Medway Scene - has lost of lot of its lustre in recent years. The Prisoners and Thee Milkshakes set the ball rolling in the late 70s and early 90s before Britpop sanded off the rough edges and made pots of cash in the 90s. Billy Childish and the other foot soldiers have kept on for the benefit of the purists in recent years, but really they've just been treading water as young men have been growing their for the psych revival.

Tear Your Minds Wide Open is, reassuringly, a breath of fresh air. Not because it does anything new. It's becuase it does old so well. Led by former Prisoner, Allan Crockford, the quartet convened in his basement where they blasted it out and added the overdubs later. The resultant sound is astounding as fat, Townshend-style chords and rattling Moonesque drums blast forth on a set of crisp pop-psych gems, laced with trickling Hammond fills and 'Bus Stop' harmonies.

Flagging up highlights is pointless when the record is a joy from start to finish. Retro? Yeah, sure, but retro is as retro does. What's important is that this album is heard, which isn't by any means a given, so make sure you do.

Gerry Ranson
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