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Talulah Gosh – Was It Just a Dream?

"Was It Just A Dream?"

Talulah Gosh – Was It Just a Dream?
01 November 2013, 13:30 Written by Hayley Scott

Revere or revile it, the resurgence of twee in contemporary music is palpable. Along with the rebirth of indie-pop in general in the last few years on labels like Slumberland, Cloudberry, Fortuna Pop and Spain’s Elefant, it’s bolstered a whole heap of proponents of the C86 shambling, anorak clad revolution of the 80s.

But the concept of twee is one that comes with negative connotations. Its unabashedly sweet, child-like demeanor is often scorned for being pervasive, genteel and difficult to bear, but its substance is often overlooked; for all its cloying sentimentalism there’s a detectable ounce of irony.

Talulah Gosh pertain to this blithe notion of ‘twee’ perhaps more so than most, and the retrospective Was It Just A Dream is an infallible example in itself. An extended version of the increasingly elusive 1996 compilation Backwash, Was It Just a Dream is the all-inclusive Talulah Gosh: featuring 29 tracks encompassing every single, EP, demo and radio session the band ever put to tape in their fleeting but influential existence.

Was It Just A Dream is for both die-hard fans and novices alike; those already in possession of Backwash and the 2011 Record Store Day exclusive Demos EP won’t hear anything explicitly new here, but the archive photos and extensive liner notes by The Legend! aka Everett True makes up for what it lacks in exclusives, not to mention the countless rarities and the very fact the renewed interest in indie-pop’s epoch is making original material increasingly hard to obtain.

Despite being denounced for their outward ebullience, there’s more to Talulah Gosh than their seemingly cutesy optimism, buoyed by Amelia fletcher’s saccharine vocals: defiantly anti-macho, their reverence for Sixties girl groups is accompanied by implications of a punk rock disposition, manifested in the speediness of the Ramones, particularly prevalent on tracks like “The Girl With Strawberry Hair” and “Beatnik Boy”, with the distinct, euphonic jangle of the guitars that defined the era all present and correct.

Earlier this year, Cherry Red released Scared To Get Happy; a comprehensive compilation celebrating indie-pop’s zenith by revisiting its roots and charting its pinnacle. It prompted a massive renewal of interest in the era, recalling its fruitful past. Similarly, Was It Just A Dream harks back to a time when fanzines were the savior of underground sounds otherwise neglected by mainstream music press, when the NME held principle and the term ‘indie’ embodied meaning. Devoid of pretence, this is DIY indie-pop as it should be – at its happiest, most unashamed -reminding certain twee-pop also-rans how it’s really done.

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