Various Artists — Time to Go — The Southern Psychedelic Movement: 1981-1986 (Flying Nun, 2012)
The subtitle of Time to Go purports the album to be a document of “the Southern Psychedelic Movement” —this seems to be a marketing maneuver hoping to tap into the recently reignited interest in psych and neo-psychedelia. In a decade that produced some of popular music’s/popular musics most banal, forgettable, and ultimately soppy developments, this brilliantly curated compilation (curated by Marginal favorite and Kiwi Kingpin, Bruce Russell) is neither stylistically homogenous nor does it reek of the decades’ excesses. Some tracks are raw and cutting, whilst others are more subdued. Sure, some of the cuts are unabashed in their Syd Barret idol worship; yet many of these tunes harken back to the preceding decade and demonstrate continued flirtations with punk rock’s visceral intensity, whilst also unafraid to embrace post-punk arty-iconoclasm. From the psych-weirdness of Alec Bathgate and Chris Knox’s Tall Dwarfs and the Velvet Underground-inspired Builders, to the jangly-pop experimentalism of Michael Morley’s Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, the listener encounters artistic pluralism that runs the gamut. If you’re looking for Haight-Ashbury a-go-go from Auckland or Christchurch, look elsewhere, as Time to Go has much more to offer.