Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Attack_Complete recordings (1967-68)

"Mod-psych extraordinaire, the Attack had a phenomenal string of great but overlooked singles."
An anthology of all the 45s and early unissued rarities from this fantastic 60s mod/psyche outfit; their unique brand of guitar-heavy, mod-rock qualifies them as one of the finest examples of (the over-used term) freakbeat.

01. Magic In The Air
02. Try It
03. Colour Of My Mind
04. Feel Like Flying
05. Lady Orange Peel
06. Freedom For You
07. Mr. Pinnodmy's Dilemma
08. Strange House
09. Anymore Than I Do
10. Created By Clive
11. We Don't Know
12. Hi-Ho Silver Lining
13. Neville Thumbcatch
14. Too Old
15. Go Your Way

The Attack (originally the Soul System) strikes full force with a British Invasion of freakbeat psychedelic mod-rock straight outta London, England circa 1966. Immensely talented, yet sorely underrated, the Attack was an emulative R&B spin-off with assertive pop predispositions. Verging on the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and the Who, yet bearing closer resemblance to the Birds, Small Faces, the Pretty Things, and the Creation, this audio gem features the Attack’s rare early recordings on Don Arden’s ( the ‘Al Capone of Pop? and the ‘Godfather of Rock? ) Decca record label, flaunting melodic pop guitars layered over bass heavy rhythms, and Richard Shirman’s pleasing vocals. Several selections on this devastatingly concise collection include sparkling Hammond organ vibrations. They released a mere 4 singles, often times with the B-Sides packing a fiercer wallop. Radiant free-wheelin’ fun gloriously seeps through, the kind that induces positive euphoric well-being without sluggish addiction. Their solid rock vein stays consistent throughout this collection, perhaps the only stability ever attributed to the Attack, given their multiple line-up changes and failed attempts at expanding their influence outside Britain.
Guy Montag

Making up the four great bands of the 1966 pop-apocalypse were The Who, The Action, The Creation and finally The Attack. Four names that in their brevity summed up the instant flash of mod-pop appeal. They had more energy than an H-bomb after flash, and they hit the senses and the soul with a long awaited wake up call. A definitive collection, which includes such stand outs as - Try It "bugged out insanity,with sexual overtones blowing the Standells version into oblivion"; We Don't Know "a tight explosion of mod-soul" ; Anymore Than I Do "a freak beat classic" - plus of course their pre-Jeff Beck version of Hi Ho Silver lining. A Must for all Mod Collectors.

My first reaction to this CD was being captivated by the infectious bass lines, far more than any of the rest of the instrumentation. In much the same way that Keith Moon's drumming stood out to me when I first heard the Who (the "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" 45). The material is very strong here, witness the fact that the lead track, "Any More Than I Do," was a B-SIDE when originally released. I had originally heard "Created by Clive" as performed by The Syn, but The Attack's version is far stronger, peppier and enlivened by the mallett percussion. Well, it says it's a mod collection but, at the risk of alienating purists, I would surely suggest that the psych and freakbeat minded would all find much to enjoy.

This band should have been as Big as The Who! For sheer originality within the English rock of the late 60's these guys are second to none. This music's right up there with Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Who sings My Generation and The Move. Now's your chance to hear how "The Attack" pay homage to"The Standells" with this excellent version of the first rock record to get banned in the U.S because of it's "filthy" lyrics which amounts to "Try it". How times have changed! The worst fears expressed by 'Lou Reed's Berlin' have been realized. Let this excellent group take you back to a much simpler time when Rock n Roll was new, and thousands of super, creative bands roamed the US and London. And people still believed that "Rock Music" could save your soul.

Biography by Jon 'Mojo' Mills

The Attack (thanks to an ever growing legion of collectors dedicated to the vibrant sound of mid- to late-'60s Swinging London) have a far larger fan base now than they ever did during their existence. Indeed their unique brand of guitar-heavy, mod-rock qualifies them as one of the finest examples of (the over used term) freakbeat. Hence over the last 15 years there has been an abundance of vinyl bootlegs and inclusions on such psychedelic/freakbeat compilations as Rubble! The founders Richard Shirman (the only original member to stay with the group throughout all of the lineup changes) and Gerry Henderson were originally in a group called the Soul System, whom, for the best part of a year, had a very unstable lineup. In early 1966, the remnants of the crumbling group were joined by Bob Hodges on organ, David John (not David John of David John & the Mood, but Davy O'List under alter ego) on guitar, and Alan Whitehead (on loan from Marmalade) on drums. They soon came to the attention of entrepreneur (gangster?) Don Arden, who then signed them to Decca and changed their name to the Attack. Their debut single released in January 1967 was an extremely anglicized cover of "Try It," an American hit for both the Standells and Ohio Express, whose versions were exemplar of the sneering garage sound. However, the Attack's powerful vocals, pop art guitar, and the underbelly of a warm Hammond created a similar atmosphere to the Small Faces (also managed by Don Arden), the Birds, and the Creation. Shortly after the single was released, Davy O'List was handpicked by Andrew Loog Oldham to join the Nice (who were to act as the backup group for newly acquired American Soul singer P.P. Arnold) and quit the group in late February. Meanwhile, Shirman, a regular visitor to the London clubs had been keeping a watchful eye on a young guitarist he had seen jamming with Jimmy Page. Shortly thereafter John Du Cann (mainstay, and songwriter) was introduced into the group. As a follow-up to "Try It," a version of "Hi-Ho Silver Lining" was then released, but Jeff Beck got the hit first in Britain in 1967. The third 45, "Created By Clive"/"Colour of My Mind," backed a foppish sub-Kinks-style number with a fairly groovy mod-psych tune penned by DuCann. Kenny Harold (bass) and Geoff Richardson (guitar) left shortly after the disappointment of "Created By Clive," leaving John as the only guitarist. Jim Avery (who later went on to the revolutionary Third World War) was drafted in on bass, with Plug (whom later went on to Welsh acid rock outfit Man) still on drums. After yet even more disappointment surrounding the "Magic in the Air" single (Decca refused its release on the grounds of it being too heavy), Plug and Jim Avery left the ranks to be replaced by Roger Deane (bass) and Keith Hodge (drums). The final single, released in early 1968, was "Neville Thumbcatch," a fruity mod-pop tune with spoken narration, like a lesser counterpart to Cream's "Pressed Rat and Warthog." Decca's deal with the Attack expired after that single, with a projected fifth 45, "Freedom for You"/"Feel Like Flying," remaining unreleased. Both sides of that single, as well as seven Attack demos recorded around that time, are included on Angel Air's CD reissue of the rare 1968 album by the Five Day Week Straw People, a studio-only outfit that was led by DuCann. There is also a compilation of the Attack's post-Decca sides entitled Final Dayze, featuring these tracks and more unreleased material (also on Angel Air). Before Decca (who wanted to keep the Attack as a pop act) parted with the group over the continued heavy nature of their newer material, the group had already entered the studio and begun work on the Roman Gods of War album. Both the artwork and a number of songs were completed, but unfortunately the label recorded over the tapes and lost the photos after they dropped the group. DuCann became the dominant creative force in the group prior to their 1968 breakup, and the likes of the unreleased "Mr. Pinnodmy's Dilemma" and "Strange House" showed the group developing a heavier rock sound, although still maintaining a sense of British mod-psych whimsy. DuCann would continue to explore a heavier direction with his subsequent group Andromeda, and joined Atomic Rooster in the '70s.

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