Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Night Local: Look Blue Go Purple, 'Circumspect Penelope'

More women in rock! More Dunedin Sound! More Eighties! Yes, it's a trifecta.

Look Blue Go Purple deserved more press, and better press. That rare thing, an all-woman group in an industry - a scene, even, which was dominated by young white guys with guitars and baggy jerseys. While the likes of The Clean, the Stones, Doublehappys and Verlaines were hapy to fill a room with squally guitar sounds and loose, alternative power pop, LBGP came across as a little more studied, a little more psychedelic in influence (the literary aspect is evident here, as also in later songs - Virgil's Aeneid inspires Winged Rumour, and Hiawatha borrows its lyrics from Longfellow's epic poem). The difference is refreshing, as is their choice of instrumentation - debut EP Bewitched from which this single hails is notable not only for Norma O'Malley's keyboards, but also the odd jab of flute in As Does the Sun. And, of course, there are five strong personalities here in the writing and composition, and a shared creative spark that makes for an interesting looking video below as well as some allegedly wild gigs back in the day. Penelope seems to be Kath Webster's creation, but equally strong songs from Denise Roughan (I Don't Want You Anyway) and O'Malley (In Your Favour) rightly endure. And there's Cactus Cat, too - but everyone picks that one, so here's my favourite today, filmed once again on the ubiquitous Otago Peninsula (maybe through the car windows you can see a young Marty Phillipps filming the Pink Frost video? Nah, probably not)

I previously had ambitions on devotng a longer post to LBGP here, but apart from a few asides to future projects (Roughan went on to be a 3D, Kathy Bull a Cyclops, O'Malley a Chug and Webster now edits the NZ Automobile Association magazine) there's little mroe to say. LBGP had their three Flying Nun EPs (Bewitched, LBGPEP2, This Is This) compiled onto a CD in the early 90s, but there's at least an EP's worth of uncollected tracks to be found on You Tube, including a rather good cover of Buffy St Marie's Coedine, and if nothing else This Is This desperately needs remastering. Fingers crossed, maybe.

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