Dick’s Picks: An essential slice of ’80s Power Pop from ex-Television Personalities Edward Ball’s (no not that one!) Mod/’60s revivalists ‘The Times’…..
The Times – who?
Although ostensibly a band ‘The Times’ were really the brainchild of one Edward ‘Ed’ Ball, previously a member of cult punksters the Television Personalities, who, not only had a neat line in self-deprecating humour (album title: ‘They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles’), were also prone to cynicism, proffering a sly dig at wanna-be weekend punks (oh the outrage!) with ‘Part-time Punks’ from the seminal (and in itself a reference to the Sex Pistols) ‘Where’s Bill Grundy Now’ E.P.
Fast forward to 1983 and the newly formed ‘The Times’ would provide a neat conduit for Ed’s ongoing love affair with all things ‘60s. This may seem a bit over played in 2016 but way back in 1983 writing songs about cult ‘60s TV shows like ‘The Prisoner’ (I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape) and imagery with a distinct modernist edge was different, yes certain songs draw on an idealistic vision of Swinging London, all Julie Christie’s, Mary Quant and Carnaby Street but others like ‘Whatever Happened To Thamesbeat’ slyly take the piss out of the lumpy Parkas and Scooter brigades version of Mod that had sprung up post-Jam.
What’s the album like?
Album opener ‘This Is London’ sets out its stall nicely, twitchy, nervy guitars and caustic lyrics with a distinct flavour of early noughties indie like Maximo Park and Interpol (but don’t let that put you off), were they a band out of time?……..
….we here at eil Towers think it’s highly likely they were, many of Ed Ball’s cultural references would become more familiar as the decade wore on, think obscure ’60s freakbeat like the Creation which Ball championed, along with friend, a certain Alan McGhee. McGhee would not only form a band named after the Creation’s most well-known song ‘Biff Bang Pow’, he would also go on to name his record label after them (Creation) whilst allowing a certain Mr Ed Balls the opportunity to continue his love of all things ’60s……..