The Particles – 1980s Bubblegum (Music Class)
Thanks to a grouping that is also an overview, particles are currently being rediscovered. The band built up a small but enthusiastic fan base, especially in their native Australia, and have never been known beyond local boundaries or genre. Founded by Peter Williams and Mick Smith in the punk golden year of 1977 and initially part of the Sydney punk scene, the band’s sound had strayed far from punk by the time their first EP was released in 1980.
Particles never quite reached album length at the time, and three inches, seven inches and a few inserted samples were all the band had until their split in the mid-1980s. Bassist Stephen O’Neill ended up with The Lighthouse Keepers, as did original drummer Stephen Williams. Otherwise, the band’s line-up was variable: the band’s only permanent members were Peter Williams and singer Astrid Spellman, who joined the band in 1979. Spellman died in 2015, leaving Williams to manage The Particles’ small but mighty legacy.
30 minutes of the best to-pop game
The now published retrospective “80s Chewing Gum”, although the term “chewing gum” is probably not meant to be taken seriously. Because The Particles’ music has never been as sweet as the real bulgarian pop of, say, The Archies (“sugar, sugar” and stuff like that, you know). Instead, the memories of the pop-punk frontiersmen reawakened like TV personalities. Also because of a certain “not serious” situation that both teams are involved in. A little later in the 1990s, the term twee-pop was used for bands like Beat Happening and later Belle And Sebastian – which also describes the very catchy three-minute pop songs of The Particles quite well.
In the 1980s, the three particle EPs were arranged chronologically. Plus, there are some sample contributions and live versions – Then It’s Over Again. Their first EP “Color In” was released in 1980. Three very short pop songs, very dry in production with melodies thrown in as if with a light hand (particularly “Driving Me”). Infectious close harmony. On the following songs from the second part EP “Advanced Coloring”, some small tape machine experimentation creeps into the sound, and on the third, final EP “I Luv Trumpet” from 1984, the songs are longer, and the arrangements more complex. The trumpet, see title of the EP, becomes the signature sound. It took three years for the light-footed “Dresses and Shoes,” the laid-back “Notes” and above all the semi-titled “Like Song,” lifted The Particles to a whole new level. One might ask why it is no longer possible: “How do you expect me to wait? You have waited so long and where have you been? I do not believe the stories you have concocted, you make me wait, and play silly games with you.”
Each of the three creative phases is worth an entire album. Instead, the total output of the band’s nearly ten years of history minus the bonus material or filler material (depending on) is 30 minutes of Twee-pop. Everything is at its best, after all.
Release date: July 7, 2023
Label: music class