Stackridge – The Forbidden City + Anyone For Tennis?-Sound & Vision

January 01, 1970

(Angel Air)

 

(www.angelair.co.uk)

 

Few people, even diehard retro aficionados, remember an
early ‘70s English band called Stackridge, and even fewer would likely say they
cared even if they did.  So leave it to
one of Britain’s
most avid archival labels, Angel Air, to reintroduce the band for a current
crop of Brit pop enthusiasts via an ongoing series of re-releases of the band’s
seminal albums.  The latest of these come
in the form of belated additions to the band’s canon — Anyone For Tennis? Sound & Vision , a greatest hits of sorts with
accompanying DVD, and  The Forbidden City , a recent reunion
concert that transpired nearly 35 years after their initial incarnation went
their merry ways.  And while it may be
too late for Stackridge to attain any modicum of the fame and fortune that
eluded them in their prime, a case could be made that for a deserving ensemble
such as this, any attempt – even three and a half decades on — is still none
too late.

 

Of course, one should expect there would be ample evidence as
to why anyone other than their original diehard devotees should care about
Stackridge resurfacing.  So fortunately, these
two double discs offer the uninitiated an enticing backwards glance of the
group in all their glory via the cream of their catalogue.  While Anyone
For Tennis?
 offers a basic
compilation/compendium (as well as a DVD of the aforementioned The Forbidden
City performance),  The Forbidden City  proper
may be the most impressive of the two due to the band’s ability to effectively
recreate their legacy live.  Boasting the
bulk of their staples – as well as a nod to the Korgis, the band’s equally
worthy offshoot — it finds the band reclaiming their legacy with unflagging
enthusiasm and meticulous musical precision.

 

That’s no small feat at this point; given their giddy,
unflappable and unfailingly cheery allegiance to basic pop precepts,
Stackridge’s sound requires a deft touch and a flexible stroke.  Similar in stance to Paul McCartney, Squeeze
or Madness, songs such as “Grooving Along the Highway on a Monday Morning
Once,” “Lummy Days,” “Anyone for Tennis” and “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime”
(the latter a Korgis chestnut) are both arched and effusive, not to mention
remarkably unselfconscious considering the wit and whimsy invested in these
melodic ditties.  So while Anyone for Tennis is fine for starters,
it takes The Forbidden
City
to prove — its intimidating title aside — that catching
up on guilty pleasures like these can be ever so liberating.

 

Standout
tracks:
“Grooving Along the Highway on a Monday Morning Once,”
“Lummy Days,” “Anyone for Tennis” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

 

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