“Happy Daze 2 is a sequel in name only. This time round the aim was to mix ‘n’ match – established names giving a leg up to the New Breed. Some of these bands may be new to you now, but after giving them a listen I’m sure you’ll agree they won’t be for long.
So rev up the turntable folks! Prize that record out of the sleeve sharpish and place the needle on track one, side one and enjoy 13 tracks from 13 groups of hotshots currently making awesome sounds. From The Cure to Chapterhouse, from The LA’s to Lush, open up your mind and see through the haze. Happy Daze is here again. Cue music. . .”
After the successful Happy Daze, Island Records decided to release a second volume during the spring of 1991. Once again Gary Crowley chose to concentrate on quality rather than quantity and included just 13 tracks. The end result is a perfect time capsule of the era, noise meets beats. And as a soundtrack to my last teenage year, it brings on the flashblacks like nothing else.
“See with you
Memories fading fast
And with you
It’s never going to last”.
There She Goes is the first tune; classic jingle jangle and one that got away again and again before finally clicking. Also getting a second run were The High and Box Set Go just around the time of this compilation’s release. It’s a driving slice of rainy-day melancholic Manc pop. Blocks building up and up until the throbbing synth of All On You (Perfume) kicks in. Definitely one of the greatest tracks to emerge from the city; an electro-meets-psychedelia monster of euphoria. Once again this was the second bite of January 1991, the original version dating from some seven months previously. It’s followed by the understated Wonderment from Thousand Yard Stare, all frantic and cluttered beats.
We veer across the globe for The Wagon, Dinosaur Jr’s sole release of 1990. A white vinyl 7″ on Sub Pop. Epic fuzz. There was a record shop in Waterford during the late 80s/early 90s called KG Discs. They sold 50 copies of Green Mind in the first week – 21 LPs, 22 cassettes and 7 CDs. Saw Dinosaur Jr. in Dublin’s McGonagles in September ’91 and J Mascis never stopped playing his guitar. The Dylans’ neo-psychedelic Godlike is next; the sound of 1968 updated for the new decade. Backwards meets forwards. Fresh from Mixed Up, The Cure slot in with Close To Me as remixed by Mr Oakenfold. Two Cure albums are namechecked. A siamese dream. Meanwhile the shoegazing starts in earnest with the stunning chords of Chapterhouse’s swirling and hypnotic Pearl.
The Real People got a mention on Brookside when Peter Harrison wore one of the t-shirts. Window Pane is jaunty like a second division Stone Roses but still manages to be evocative. The same can be said for Top’s optimistic She’s Got All The World and the baggy shuffle elation of Five Thirty’s Something’s Got To Give. At this time Lush were gradually building momentum and their third release, the Sweetness And Light EP was the strongest to date. A chiming maelstrom that keeps swelling like a wave that will inevitably break. And we end with an epic. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine’s Falling On A Bruise, a tale of a man’s downfall and failing mental state. From despair to where.
So what’s it all about?
“Some you win and some you lose
I’ve spent my hole lifetime falling on a bruise
And if I had the chance to do it all again
I’d change everything”.
Paris Angels – All On You (Perfume)
Chapterhouse – Pearl
Lest we forget
The High – Box Set Go