The fifteen most under rated British bands of the 80s – The Claim, The Monochrome Set, Furniture and more

Ashley Music 13 Comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a list of the most under rated British bands of the 90s as nominated by some charming musicians, bloggers and chancers  that I hang about with on social media sites. It got huge traffic, so, not wishing to change a winning formula, I asked the same group to come up with the most under rated bands of the 80s, and here’s the list.

Obviously the key here is defining the phrase ‘under rated’. There are some 80s bands; Felt, The Soft Boys and Gang Of Four spring to mind, who didn’t  trouble the charts a great deal  in their prime but thanks to being championed by more recent bands are now heralded as makers of some of the finest music of that decade. So we didn’t include them. I also added a few bands who were huge at the time, but these days never seem to be played on the radio or mentioned at all.

In a totally serendipitous way as I was putting the list together Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music decided to make the first two weeks of the year ‘lost 80s bands’ week, playing some completely forgotten tunes like Westworld’s Sonic Boom Boy. So Steve, how about playing a few of these?

Thanks then to everyone who added their twopennyworth.

And can someone please release the lost album recorded by the number one band. Ta. Any we have missed in the comments please. If you do your own list shout and I’ll post a link here too.

There’s a selection of tracks on the Spotify play list below

7 Miles Over Matter

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The best 80s band never to have made an album? Well you need to check out number one for that but IMO Miles Over Matter run them a close second. The band played some blistering live gigs at the turn of the decade when their garagey psychedelia made them briefly the toast of London's live scene and the favourite band of Melody Maker's Steve Sutherland. They recorded two tracks which appeared on the Splash Of Colour psych compilation both of which have their moments, and then a year or so later went and split. Nothing more was heard of the band until last year when a selection of their demos turned up on YouTube. What is astonishing is just how good the demos are. The pre Splash of Colour tunes, like Postcard From My Dreams, have roughness and edge about them. You can imagine how great they were live too. It is however the tracks recorded later in 1982 that highlight just how great the band were. I Saw You There is a prime example. It is firmly rooted in the Strawberry Fields era pop psych of bands like of Tomorrow and Traffic but it is clear that MOM had also been listening to tougher US garage pop acts like The Electric Prunes and The Blues Magoos. The nine tracks are all wonderful. You get to hear snatches of other bands that are familiar here and there, but ironically most of those bands followed later in the 80s and 90s. MOM were real psych pop pioneers. Who else in 1982 was covering Father’s Name Is Dad? My two favourites are Dare Truth Kiss or Promise their very own Interstellar Overdrive – I bet this was amazing live down The Clinic (the London psych club of the day) with the light show in full flow. Then there’s the quite superb take on The Beatles’ It’s All Too Much. Not many Beatles covers get close to the original, but this one might just have trumped it. Without a doubt the demos shown that Miles Over Matter were the great lost pop act of the early 80s. Such a shame that this didn’t make it out at the time. So great that we can hear it now. Reissue album please!!!