Tuesday, April 30, 2019

So much to prove

Purple Hearts, 1979

Labeling Purple Hearts a "Mod Revival" band created a problem where there didn't need to be one. This late 70s/early 80s outfit was a tight, punkish power pop band, and their first three singles were among several of the era's debut waves that built swiftly with crescendoing power. Yet most onlookers aligned them with targets, scooters, and beach riots, and then a nostalgic film, and boxed them up. A pity: strip away the Mod affectations, all of which the band courted but which in the end obscured them, and these three songs are timeless evocations of adolescence: the urgent search for identity; ongoing frustrations; and with earnest optimism, narrow-mindedness giving way to perspective and insight. All knotty aspects of growing up, all evoked and danced on top of with fierce and righteous rock and roll by the Hearts. And they ripped onstage: here's a show recorded live on October 1979 for the BBC Radio 1 In Concert Series.

Happily, hindsight has been generous to the top-tier bands in the Mod Revival movement. Ignore the unfortunately time- and date-stamp label and, as with Purple Hearts' contemporaries, the similarly tagged Chords, elevate to the eternal demands of great rock and roll. And play 'em loud.

single, 1979

single, 1979

single, 1980

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