As may have become apparent over the years, Sarah Records holds a bit of sway over the tastes here at RSTB. As such, the reissue of The Sea Urchins’ Stardust has been high on the wishlist for some time. Originals have been fetching north of $125 for quite a while, and the Discogs free-for-all hasn’t brought that number any closer to conceivable ownership in the past few years. The band stands as a cornerstone of Sarah, with their “Pristine Christine” 7” logging in as the first release of the label. Prior to Sarah’s establishment the band had issued Flexi singles as part of Kvetch and Sha La La zines, run by Sarah’s Clare Wadd’s and Matt Haynes respectively. This comp culls the bulk of the band’s catalog into one place, starting with those early Flexis and running out through the end of their Sarah tenure in 1990. It’s a fairly complete picture of the band that only leaves out their ’88 curio on Fierce and their swan song on Cheree.
The band’s sound lays a blueprint for not only Sarah, but for Creation, and quite a few of the post-fanzine labels that dotted the English landscape at the time. Swaying from dreamy, sun-squinted strummers to triple-time slips through jangle oblivion, the band had a way of fitting a bit of psych’s smeared lens onto the indie pop canon. Swells of organ find them pulling more than strums from the Nuggets era, but they never slip into any sense of nostalgia, instead threading their love of ‘60s pop and folk into something uniquely fitted to the times. This collection’s been far too hard to get a hand on for far too long. It’s nice to see it back in circulation.
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