The Spies – The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace
Siltbreeze first issued this miraculous Spies record back in 2014. Now back in print for the first time in a good minute, it's worth re-examining just how it came to be. And so it goes, the story of The Battle of Bosworth Terrace is quite the tale. As I understand it, The Spies were a loose collective of sorts operating out of a squat in late 70s Wellington, NZ, who recorded a wide variety of music on equipment they'd half-inched. When the pigs caught up with them, the equipment along with the fruits of their labour were seized, the tapes only returned once sentencing was over. The music then lay dormant under one Alastair Galbraith's bed for nearly two decades, before finding its way back to occasional Spies member, Mark Thomas. The story alone is the stuff of dreams for a label like Silbreeze (or even most people who follow WOE), but the music itself does enough heavy lifting on its own. There's 19 short-form songs - vignettes, really - mostly tinged with a psych-folk touch that suggests a place on an early Cherry Red compilation (let's say The Eyes of Barbara Steele - Marine Girls, Jane et al) was just a legal pardon away should they have continued their efforts and extended beyond their provincial antipodean roots. The 1979 date tempts towards interpreting this a product of post-punk/DIY ideology, but the songs feel tied to periods either side, either commune-birthed artfolk or proto-indie ramshackle-ness. It's a charming oddity, caught between worlds, and that it was almost lost entirely makes it even more compelling as a document of outsider activity. I'm a bit obsessed tbqh.
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