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Blue Skies & Free-Rides: The Best of 1986-1989

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Album Review

The Weather Prophets were one of the least heralded bands to record for Creation in the '80s, maybe because they jumped to the short-lived Creation-fed/Warner Bros.-financed Elevation imprint, or maybe because they didn't overflow with flash like the Primals or mess with heads like My Bloody Valentine. They just played their straightforward indie pop songs with a minimum of fuss and left the scene, doomed to be forgotten and undervalued. Chief songwriter/vocalist Pete Astor wrote and played at a level just below Lloyd Cole and Edwyn Collins, the band was proficient but not inventive, and they had a few hits but no smashes — just the kind of band that is due for a second look through the rose-colored microscope of nostalgia. Blue Skies & Free Rides: The Best of 1986-1989 is a 20-track collection of their finest singles and album tracks that gives indie poppers a chance to do some rediscovery. In 2004 the tunes sound fresh and uncluttered. The best of the bunch, like "Almost Prayed," "Always the Light," "You're My Ambulance," "In My Room," and "Your Heartbeat Breathes the Life into Me," are simple songs with a big heart and a clever knack for turning a phrase. Astor has a wonderfully conversational voice, occasionally capable of breaking your heart, as on the acoustic "She Comes from the Rain." If you missed out on them the first time, you should take a chance on them. If you like smart, hooky guitar pop, you won't be disappointed. If you were there at the time and have forgotten just how good the Weather Prophets were, shame on you. As penance, you need to get this disc and remember. Thank Cherry Red for giving you the chance at redemption.


Formed: 1985 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s

Guitarist/vocalist Peter Astor and drummer Dave Morgan formed the jangly Weather Prophets directly after their previous band, the Loft, split in 1985. Astor had been planning his defection from the Loft for some time and was anxious to start anew with more control. The duo had Alan McGee, a friend and major backer of Astor's and the head of their label, Creation, play bass for the first two songs. After that, Astor made a point to find other members for the band who had no role in the indie scene...
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Blue Skies & Free-Rides: The Best of 1986-1989, The Weather Prophets
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