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Various Artists

Let's Ride

20 Popsike Excursions from the UK & Europe

(Psychic Circle; US: 27 May 2008; UK: Unavailable)

Honestly, when will Psychic Circle ever stop? This boutique label has scrounged vaults that most people don’t even know exist for lost European rock nuggets that time has all but forgotten. For Let’s Ride, the third entry in the Circle’s Fairytales Can Come True series, they’ve gathered “popsike” excursions from Europe, which basically means a whole swath of songs that Damon Albarn lovingly rips off from time to time. While some Circle compilations can be a bit scattershot, Let’s Ride runs a large gamut of Beatle-esque ditties, ranging from Hubert Thomas Valverde’s “We Don’t Care” (which basically sounds like Stephen Merritt covering “I am the Walrus”) to the fabulous “Feelin’ Groovy” knockoff “City Street” by Des James. Could Unit 4 + 2’s “Booby Trap” been a huge hit for the Kinks in an alternate universe? Absolutely. Is Barry Benson’s “I Can Wait” a dead ringer for an early Who single? Undoubtedly. Certainly, the album gets bogged down in a few too many Sgt. Pepperisms in its latter half (Dave Christie’s “Love & the Brass Band” is a glaring offender), but by and large, this is one of those rare pop-rock gems that you’ve been waiting to discover for e’er so long ...

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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