Action Painting could have been Sarah Records breakout stars. They had that dash of arrogance that was nowhere to be seen elsewhere on the shy, bookish label. Instead after three singles on Sarah and one for Damaged Goods they imploded. Now for the first time ever all these tracks have been collected on one LP with demos, unreleased tracks and radio sessions.
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Initially Action Painting were your typical Sarah Records band. Their debut single These Things Happen was a superb piece of strummy indie pop. Seemingly sung by Robert Smith the song is a superb evocative burst of vibrant pop but one that perfectly fitted in with the label's aesthetic. But somehow between this and their follow up 'Classical Music' the band had turned into a Buzzcocks ish punk pop band. Both 'Classical Music' and it's even more incendiary follow up 'Mustard Gas' hurtle the band way out of the normal Sarah Records comfort zone. And you know what? These are pretty classic singles listened to in retrospect.
These singles are the highlights of this collection of all their Sarah singles plus loads of demos and radio sessions. It reveals a band who frustratingly didn't fulfil their promise (they never released a full length record in their lifetime). Songs like 'Swarm of Eyes' are tantalising in that they off a glimpse into the knotty psychedelic music they were producing which is full of melodic shifts underneath the racket. Maybe with the release of this and their upcoming Sarah Records package tour, the band can get themselves together to finish what they started.
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