Lullabies for Catatonics review – A serious swing through the archives

A terrific dot-joining exercise from Grapefruit Records

Lullabies for Catatonics
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Artist: Various Artists
Genre: Alternative
Label: Grapefruit Records

While the subtitle (a Journey through the British avant-pop/art rock scene 1967-74) is catnip for the inquisitive music fan, the music is a serious swing through the archives.

Segmented across three discs (Spontaneous Underground, Tea on the Lawn, The Wind Sings Winter Songs), this is yet another terrific dot-joining exercise from Grapefruit Records. It’s also always very interesting to discover where musicians in certain groups started out and ended up in.

Advancing the notion that The Beatles entry into avant-garde pop helped form the UK underground scene (with provincial groups such as The Soft Machine and Pink Floyd taking up the baton and going fully-fledged psychedelic), and that Bob Dylan's lyrics inspired the free-your-ass-and-your-mind-will-follow brigade of UK poets (Pete Sinfield, Pete Brown, Adrian Henri), the music here ranges from wanton experimental pop (The Liverpool Scene, Genesis, Eyes of Blue, Coxhill-Bedford Duo) to off-kilter commercial fare (Curved Air, Stackridge, Be-Bop Deluxe, 10cc, Mick Ronson).

The overriding feature, however, is of a national music scene digging in, getting their perfumed hands dirty, and generally making the best of a mind-altering, often very puzzling situation.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture