Saturday, 16 August 2008

The Direct Hits

The Direct Hits were Geno Buckmaster, guitar and vocals, Colin Swan bass and vocals, and Brian Grover on drums. They were a South London based trio, formerly known as The Exits (who had a single called Fashion Victim). The Direct Hits released a couple of singles and two albums Blow Up and House Of Secrets. And for a couple of years they were quite possibly my favourite band.

Blow Up came out in 1984. It is, like a lot of their material, very 1966 influenced. Groovy pop that leans into the psychedelic. Touchstones would be The Beatles Rubber Soul, The Who A Quick One and The Jam All Mod Cons. There are close harmonies and backwards guitars and in the 8 minute long Henry The Unhappy Inventor a mini rock opera. It's all incredibly melodic and occasionally verges on the twee, but with a sense of melancholy that never fails to move me. Great music for sitting back and daydreaming. And, for all the obvious influences, The Direct Hits were very much their own band, with a very very individual sound. Live they were also one of the loudest bands I've ever seen!

In the summer of 1984 I almost didn't listen to anything else but Blow Up. The second album House Of Secrets featured some great songs, but it lost the magic a little. And then that was that. I'm not sure what they did next. I know Colin Swan, who sang the majority of the songs, turned up a couple of years ago in a band called This Happy Breed. But apart from that nothing else. It almost makes the band perfect for me. No long slow decline into the ordinary; just a little burst of wonderful pop music that still stands up today.

You can find their music out there if you look hard enough. A compilation called The Magic Attic came out on CD in the 90s and looking through the iTunes store the other day I found Blow Up.

Somewhere it's 1966 all year round, the scene is swinging and The Direct Hits are playing....

Ever Ready Plaything
A Place In The 80s
Modesty Blaise
Miranda Berkley
The Old Curiosity Shop
My Back Pages
Henry The Unhappy Inventor
She Really Didn't Care
Christopher Cooper
Last Night I Saw Sunrise


ally. said...

funny how i can kind of think that was a time i was right with it and finger on the pulsey but even though i know the names i've never heard most of these moddy lots. disgraceful . but i'm making up for it now. i caught myself thinking about desert boots yesterday too for which i blame you entirely

Simon said...

lol, the mod revival revival starts here!

Mr. Suave said...

Just found your blog. Great stuff, nice to see some more mod lovers gettin' online. Check out my modcast and let me know what you think --
Mod on!
Mr. Suave

Simon said...

Aha, Mr Suave: I've followed your modcast for some time now. You've been doing some good work! It's not always as Mod as this around these parts. But it will probably carry on for a little while yet...!

Anonymous said...

i have the house of secrets record. i really like that album..

Modesty Blaise Webhead said...

There's a song on iTunes called 'Snakes and Ladders' by the Direct Hits; release date 2007. Is this the same band?

Brett said...

Modesty: Yes, "Snakes And Ladders" was the same band. It was the title song to an EP they put out in the 80s--after House Of Secrets if memory serves.

wilthomer said...

I parted with a lot of my Direct Hits records from the 80's but I held onto "The House Of Secrets" LP (there are some brilliant pop songs on there that held up nicely 25 years later) and the chilling "Christopher Cooper" 45. I might have to peek over @ iTunes for them, though more than likely my American one might not have 'em, then again I got all the Squire stuff that way so you never know.
"Almost everybody loves the heat and the sun..."

Keep up the great work!