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Main » 2008 » September » 10 » Mystreated - Looking Right Through (1994) & You Better Run (1993)
Mystreated - Looking Right Through (1994) & You Better Run (1993)

The Mystreated are one of the most regarded and well-traveled of the small wave of garage bands who were prevalent in England throughout the '80s and '90s. Beginning with what can best be described as a style that sounded like an inept Monkees, they soon progressed into snotty '60s punk with a strong Music Machine influence before mellowing their tone and embracing the folk-rock sounds of Love and the Byrds. During their final years, they maintained a distinctive feel of their own that had firm roots in the '60s but avoided overt plagiarism. Formed in the small Southeastern English seaport of Folkestone in 1989 from the remains of the Sheds (who featured future Kula Shaker member Jay Darlington), the newly named Mystreated were intent on turning their backs on the acid house and indie rock of the mainstream. Martin Ratcliffe (guitar/vocals), Huw Walters (bass/backing vocals), Mole (drums/backing vocals), and Dom Bennet (lead guitar/backing vocals) opted to continue the garage band ethics they had started with the Sheds, but this time to perform nothing but original material.

Their debut album, 10 Boss Cuts, was released in 1992 on Hangman Records, produced by label owner and beat/punk legend Billy Childish (the Pop Rivets/the Milkshakes/the Mighty Caesars/thee Headcoats). Brimming with a lo-fi, no-messing Childish sound, the album gained both admirers and critics due to it's basic production. Regularly playing in London to avid fans the Mystreated very soon became one of the most popular acts of the backroom circuit.
The following year, lead guitarist Dom Bennet left to go to college and was replaced by Sean Thomas, who had previously played in Bristol mod revival band the Reaction. With this new lineup, after a year of playing as a three-piece, the band entered the vintage Toe-Rag studio in East London in early 1994 to record Looking Right Through for the English/German label Twist. This album, produced by Toe-Rag owner Liam Watson, had a far cleaner sound and saw a wider array of moods and tempos approached. It even featured a sitar, and began a flirtation with psychedelia that the band would continue until their demise. Gentler folk-rock influences could also be heard. By the middle of 1994, a number of European tours were undertaken, with a proportionate fan base forming in Germany. The end of the year even saw them recording a session for national radio (BBC Radio 1), which was later released as an EP on Twist.
After such success for an underground garage band, Twist issued the follow-up album with a gatefold sleeve and insert. Again produced by Liam Watson at Toe-Rag, Ever Questioning Why took the psychedelic influences of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators and Golden Dawn to new heights, dealing with spiritual subject matter, and displayed a newfound maturity in songwriting and playing. Sean Thomas left in early 1996 due to band politics and was replaced by original guitarist Dom Bennet, who had returned from college. A 10" mini-album was soon recorded by this reshuffle, and once again showed a change in style. This outing was almost a return to the more melodic folk-rock motives explored a few years before, and featured plenty of 12-string guitar. By 1997, the music climate had changed drastically, and bands that weren't so dissimilar from the shimmering, guitar-based style of the Mystreated were entering the charts.
Lovely Sunday Dreaming (1997), the final album, was a majestic effort of Byrds-esque guitars, soaring harmony vocals, and songs with a psychedelic edge that almost evaded the retro tags that they'd picked up over the years. Unfortunately, the album sold moderately and the band seemed uncertain of the direction in which they were heading. In 1997, they split with drummer Mole, forming the Embrooks (a mod/freakbeat band), who wowed the audience in both Europe and America. ~ Jon 'Mojo' Mills, All Music Guide


Mole: drums
Sean Thomas: guitar
Huw Walters: bass
Martin Ratcliffe: guitar

Category: Psyche/Garage/Folk | Views: 4451 | Added by: Lost-In-Tyme | Rating: 5.0/2 |

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