BY Christian Ward in Features | 15 MAR 02
Featured in
Issue 65

It was 20 years ago today…

Christian Ward forsees yet another 1980s revival

BY Christian Ward in Features | 15 MAR 02

Getting nostalgic for a decade you don't remember is not a new phenomenon. After all, 1990s rock was all about 20-somethings cannibalizing a 1960s reality they never experienced. None the less, the 1980s revival - which has been going on, as far as one can tell, since about 1987 - has kicked into a new phase in the last few months. While many at the vanguard of the Electro revolution can claim to have been there the first time round, the vast majority of those who have absorbed 1980s style and sounds would recall little of the 'Me decade' save for hazy images of Bod and Bagpuss.

The 1990s were awash with complications of the kind of music your hippy parents listened to, but they were always at a particular tangent to the 1960s-influenced tunes of the Britpop coterie. There was no continuity as such, merely regurgitation - Ocean Colour Scene were pretty much just the Small Faces all over again. In the case of current Sleazecore and Punk Funk trends - typified by the music of artists such as Fisherspooner, Playgroup, Miss Kittin - what we're finding is not only continuity, but a kind of time-shift, as if the 1980s entered some parallel universe for a decade.

The record that typifies this peculiar time-morph was released last year- Girls On Top's 'Being Scrubbed/I Wanna Dance With Numbers'. The A-side mashed up the HUman League's 'Being Boiled' and TLC's 'No Scrubs' and created something fantastically new and fresh that still resonated with echoes of its source material. 'Being Boiled' turns up on the new Soul Jazz compilation 'In The Beginning There Was Rhythm', a collection of Punk Funk classics from the likes of A Certain Ratio and Cabaret Voltaire that - like the recent New York Disco and Old Skool Rave comps that have taken over the racks - sounds like a record that could have been made now. Proof that the Noughties are devoid of new ideas? Perhaps this isn't nostalgia so much as a youth culture extrapolating from sonic ideas that weren't fully played out the first time.