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Action Painting! 1989-1995 (Emotional Response)

Action Painting! cover art
4 December 2018

Gosport, UK’s Action Painting! is a band with limited output but with plenty of punch. Their debut single for Sarah Records (1990’s “These Things Happen”) was strong enough to yield attention from Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and eventually landing support slots for the likes of Suede and The House of Love. The band’s ethos became practice does not make perfect as a snub towards post-Manchester rectitude. By the mid-1990s, after 3 singles for Sarah Records, 1 for Damaged Goods, collaborations with guest musicians such as Andrew Blake from Biff Bang Pow!, and an infamous dust-up with label-mates The Sea Urchins, the band folded up their tents … at least until now.
Emotional Response’s ‘Trial Cuts 1989-1995’ culls together various tracks from their limited output from the ‘90s as well as radio sessions and unreleased material that would have comprised their debut LP from that era. Coining the term Riot Pop, Action Painting! funneled influences such as Scott Walker, The Blue Orchids, The Cramps, The Claim and The Jesus and Mary Chain into 3-minute cuts of indie rock purity. Tracks like “Collapsing Cloud”, “Art Student” and “Mustard Gas” capture a more punk-ier edge while “Hip To Hate” and “Dollytree” harness the experimental side of Sarah Records’ output, a label known for its twee releases (erroneously). A melodic equivalent to Felt, Buzzcocks and The Jam fronted by Robert Smith; Action Painting! set themselves apart from their Sarah classmates (save for Boyracer), with aggressive edges, sneering vocals and a penchant for autonomy. In light of the renewed interest, Action Painting! have started work on new material that will hopefully see the light of day soon … and possible tour dates in the U.S. (please!).