(Almost Unknown Records)
Compiled from a collection of 1980's cassette demos as the debut release on former Swinging Cat Chris Long's Almost Unknown Records following online interest sparked by an Australian blog site, Park Road is a window into a world of 80's bedroom recordings (Park Road being a reference to the address it was home recorded at) and often sparsely attended local pub and club gigs, and is the true manifestation of the 'have a go' ethos spawned by punk. Three piece Skeet, formed by brothers Nigel and Gary Meffen and Kay Booth, may well have been short lived and fame didn't beckon for them at the time, but as is the way with these things, when looked at through a modern lens the grass roots musicians of the 1980s exhibit levels of creativity that no amount of Garageband plug ins or AI generated autotunes can replicate. The recordings may be pretty basic affairs, but the song writing isn't, exhibiting a frailty in the echoey vocals underpinned by old school analogue drum machine and light touch guitar and bass, particularly evident in the track 'Brief Call'. There is an airiness about Skeet and a hesitancy in their playing and singing that betrays the fact that these are musicians only beginning to find their feet, but despite that are capable of penning a good tune.
Skeet may be one step up from a bedroom band on this six track EP, but had they have had the production, big studio recording, and Creation/Postcard Records contracts other bands of their ilk enjoyed, they'd have been able to jettison their frailty and shyness on record and blossum into the successful act they deserved to be. Life is full of such unfairness, but in Skeet's case it feels particularly harsh. Hard though it was at the time to see the potential lurking underneath often murky 4 track recordings, that was the job of the 80s A&R man and it is safe to say he missed a trick here.
Park Road is limited to 250 vinyl copies and can be ordered through Bandcamp here
Skeet image is a Youtube screengrab of course it is.