A word of praise for Optic Nerve Recordings, a reissue label based in Preston in north-west England (about 34 miles west of Manchester if overseas readers are trying to place the town on a map in their head).
The label very much specialises in offering up vinyl copies of long-lost or difficult to find releases, mostly singles, of an indie-bent from the 80s and 90s. In an ideal world, I’m sure we would all to get out there and track down the original 45s but affordability and value for money can be an issue and as such, they are providing a decent service.
It’s been very tempting, but I actually haven’t bought too many of the reissues, thinking that having the track digitally or on some sort of compilation CD is often good enough, but I did make an exception for a release brought out by the label in March 2020:-
The Loft disintegrated in mid-1985 after just two singles for Creation Records, albeit The Weather Prophets would emerge from the debris. Up The Hill and Down The Slope was the second of the 45s and, as you’ll have gathered from the heading of this post, I reckon it’s a superb piece of music.
It encapsulates all that seemed to be happening in the jingly-jangly world at the time; ok, there’s nothing hugely original about it but the fact it does sounds exactly like just about every other indie single being released that particular year, makes it indispensable.
Aside from being pressed on coloured vinyl, the Optic Nerve reissue differed greatly in one respect from the Creation original in that the b-side wasn’t the one to be found on the original 7″ back in 1985, but it had been one of the tracks on the 12″:-
One of the lines from the A-side – My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize – was, as many of you will know, taken as the title for what proved to be an excellent book by the late David Cavanagh which tells the story of Creation Records in a far better and more entertaining way than the recent film Creation Stories, which to be quite frank, is a total dud, full of factual inaccuracies and dodgy Scottish accents.