Audio Remasterer: Simon Murphy .
Unknown Contributor Roles: John Reed ; Neil Taylor.
In 2014, Cherry Red compiled the excellent NME C86 box set that reissued NME's seminal cassette compilation released in the fateful year of 1986, adding another 22 songs that helped flesh out what was going on all over the U.K. that year. Two years after the arrival of the NME C86 box, they tackled 1987's guitar pop and noise pop scenes on the equally fine C87 set. It catches up on many of the artists who featured on the NME C86 comp, like the Primitives, the Weather Prophets, and the Dentists, while also spotlighting plenty of exciting new bands that sprang up in C86's mighty wake. The collection features some true indie pop classics like "Pristine Christine" by the Sea Urchins (the first Sarah Records single), "Son of a Gun" by the Vaselines, Talulah Gosh's self-titled single, the Wedding Present's "My Favourite Dress," Miaow's "When It All Comes Down," the Chesterf!elds' buoyant "Ask Johnny Dee," and lots more. It gathers up a few rarities like a flexidisc version of the Darling Buds' "Spin" and the B-side of Kitchens of Distinction's first single, and there are plenty of bands only a true indie pop obsessive would know like the Submarines, Gol Gappa, and the Caretaker Race, some well worth checking out and some notable for the historical perspective they provide. Not content to just do a stellar job selecting tracks by the jangly, happily melodic bands that were springing up like weeds in an abandoned carpark, the compilers make sure to add a dozen or so angular, arty agit-pop tracks by bands like Bog-Shed, the Dog Faced Hermans, and Stump, then do those fans with more gentle constitutions the favor of sticking them all at the beginning of the third disc instead of sprinkling them throughout. Again, these bands are well chosen, as are the tracks selected. It's not an easy job trying to capture a scene, making sure to cover as much of it as possible while still maintaining quality control, but the intrepid duo of John Reed and Neil Taylor really do a brilliant job. Sure, there are minor quibbles that could be voiced and a few notable omissions -- the Close Lobsters' "Let's Make Some Plans" would have been nice to include -- but overall C87 is just about all any fan of late-'80s U.K. underground pop could hope for. ~ Tim Sendra