The Mighty Lemon Drops – Uptight: The Early Recordings 1985/1986 (Cherry Red)

The Mighty Lemon Drops








The Mighty Lemon Drops were one of the better second-tier acts from the mid-’80s UK indie rock scene, sometimes called C86. The West Midlands group made their way by cross-pollinating the adrenaline rushes of garage rock and punk with the darker side of ’60s psychedelia. It was a promising conglomeration of influences and its promise was often delivered on with great songs, however, they spent their careers dogged by constant comparisons to Echo and The Bunnymen. These comparisons were completely warranted, as it’s hard to tell the two apart sonically; although Mighty Lemon Drops singer Paul Marsh’s rhyme schemes (head/said, fine/mine, hide/side) were more rudimentary than Ian McCulloch. Uptight collects twenty-four tracks from The Lemon Drops’ early days, sourced from demos, BBC sessions, singles, and EPs. The four songs from the Like An Angel EP are the best, including personal favorite “Sympathize With Us.” It’s little more than the sound of The Bunnymen rewriting The Doors’ “L.A. Woman,” but it works despite the obvious origins. A trio of songs recorded for the C86 cassette compilation one year later show the band getting more comfortable with the recording studio while still retaining the raw Velvets-meets-Nuggets attack fans had already come to expect from them. The album closes poorly, with eight of their earliest recordings – the Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs cassette. It includes some of the same songs found elsewhere on the album (including the aforementioned “Sympathize With Us”) but the lo-fi recording makes these versions far less enjoyable. Even a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again” misses the mark. Yes, Uptight is a mixed bag, but the high points are worth investigating.