1 December 2008

Psychic TV - Good Vibrations



Label: Temple
Year of Release: 1986


"Good Vibrations" probably sits right up there with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "A Day in The Life" as songs which should never be covered, and would only be touched by either somebody desperate to take the piss or one who felt very, very daring.

It's difficult to say what category Psychic TV's version of this song falls under, but there's something about this whole package which is enticing in a peculiar way. Ostensibly, the band haven't bothered to significantly change the original arrangement of the tune, and have for the most part in fact faithfully replicated the entire thing - but then there are some unsettling and wobbly undercurrents to the version which make it seem as sinister as Dennis Wilson's friendship with Charles Manson. The video is also an absurd cocktail of colourful random "goofball" antics, like some deliberately badly realised eighties recreation of a sixties promo clip, and the combined effect is actually a tiny bit confusing.

Technically speaking, it's hard to justify including Psychic TV on a blog like this one. They may not have had any proper "hits" as such but, along with Genesis P-Orridge's first band Throbbing Gristle, the shadow they've cast across the music scene is long. It was, after all, they who sampled Peter Fonda saying "We wanna get loaded and have a good time" from the film "Wild Angels" before Primal Scream got their hands on it, and Throbbing Gristle who were pioneers for the industrial music scene. All that said, this version of "Good Vibrations" seems to have been largely forgotten about even by the band's fanbase - which isn't that surprising, considering the fact that most fans seem to frown upon their pet bands releasing cover versions as singles, and are frequently desperate to forget them - and the video seems to have fallen to the back of everybody's brains despite getting some terrestrial TV exposure on "The Chart Show".

There was a rumour at this point that Genesis P-Orridge was quite keen for Psychic TV to worm into the mainstream, and it's possible (although I've no concrete proof) that this was supposed to help push them through where they could go on to cause untold damage. Obviously, however, a lowly Top 75 chart placing was all that really awaited them, and it was not to be. It's hard to say whether that's just as well or not.

1 comment:

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