Even before Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand cited jangling, DiY indie as a touchstone, it had influenced Kurt Cobain (who covered The Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips”, featured here), the Manics and Saint Etienne. Essentially, indie-pop continued where Postcard records (Orange Juice, Josef K et al) left off a few years earlier (though minus the soul influences). Critics derided the bands for infantilism and ineptitude, but The Shop Assistants’ “Safety Net”, The Sea Urchins’ “Pristine Christine” and The June Brides’ “Every Conversation” all made exhilarating pop.
It wasn’t exclusively twee, either. McCarthy’s ferocious “Should The Bible Be Banned” captures the era’s other underground presence? hardline revolutionary politics. Despite anomalies (Lush? Velvet Crush?), in its small way this 46-track collection is the ’80s British equivalent to the Nuggets box set.