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Review: 'Pooh Sticks, The'
'Seven Inch Box Set'   

-  Label: 'Optic Nerve'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '22nd November 2019'

Our Rating:
Active between 1987 and 1995, Th Pooh Sticks were one of those quintessential jangly C85 style indie bands. John Peel loved them, of course.as their biography notes, their second release was a five-single box set. And then they got signed to major labels – BMG in the States, and, later, Atlantic, for the kind of money that just doesn’t happen any more.

Said five-single box set, contained five one-sided 7” singles, all of the tracks from which are featured on this box set which contains five two-sided singles. So this is an expanded edition, if you like. The original A-sides are accompanied by a miscellany of other early cuts, including ‘Hard on Love; from the 1989 flexi and selections from their debut album ‘Orgasm’.

This latter track in particular showcases a harder, punkier edge, with a thicker guitar and murky bass that hints at the reasons why they were picked as contenders for the American market, prefacing the alt-rock scene that would proliferate as Nirvana broke through. The songs balance jangle and edge, and remind us of different times, when ramshackle home recordings would be pressed up onto vinyl and receive radio play, when the DIY ethic thrived despite the lack of technology to support it. Bands today think they’ve got it tough – and they have – but getting songs recorded to a professional standard and distributed to a potentially infinite market isn’t nearly the challenge it used to be.

This release obviously has ‘nostalgia’ stamped all over it, but fair play. Ultimately, The Pooh Sticks will be remembered as also-rans, although for a while they definitely had something, including a cult following – which has remained loyal to this day. And they deserve this, because it’s pretty good, both musically and as an artefact.
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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