Graham Reid | | 1 min read
In the late Sixties Auckland's Music Convention – originally out of the Hamilton area as the Spectres and the Trends – released one of the baddest, greatest, noisiest New Zealand singles ever.
It was Belly Board Beat which was an explosion of surf rock with sitar and sounded as if it had been recorded in a beachside ashram where instead of meditating the very stoned devotees would listen to Wipe Out all day.
It is mad and inexplicable.
If they had never done anything else . . .
But they did . . . and this terrific 16 track collection in a typically weird cover (what were they thinking?) pulls together their slightly whimsical take on country-pop (with Vaudeville influences on Have You Seen My Limousine), the hilariously trippy Footprints on my Mind with sitar (yes, there are rainbows, the perfume of the flowers and other such period hippieness) and very accomplished pop-rock which had its ears on the Beach Boys and other West Coast soft-rock bands (Nonsense, Nice Clean Fun).
At times they sound just two women short of the Mamas and the Papas, or one of the superior surf-rock instrumental bands of their era (their evocative theme to the film Children of the Sun, the movie which also featured Belly Board Beat).
They do a faithful and fine cover of Nilsson's One, nod to Chuck with Berry Rides Again (count the song titles referenced), the instrumental Green is an evocative piece with organ and sitar, the 90 second Creaming on a Midnight Wave (huh?) is kind of Black is Black-meets-Vincent Price . . .
And the bleak Ballad of the Light Brigade – complete with horses whinnying, trumpet, cannons booming – explains that cover shot.
We'll let you discover whatever Strangers from Venus is about and to delight in the glorious Hank Marvin/Ventures twang of the romantic closer Reach for the Sky.
If you do nothing else right now, go to Spotify here and check out Belly Board Beat.
You have, however, been warned.
You can find out more about the Music Convention at audioculture here.