I've always been....conflicted with the Mod Revival of the late 70's and 80's. It seems like a mob mentality and conformist ideals overtook what is supposed to be a culture of individuals who try vigorously to stand out in the crowd. All it took to be a Mod was an M-51 Parka and a Keith Moon target shirt, but that was just one part of a very large scene, in which many followed the original Mod ideals and added to the culture as a whole. And its understandable at the time that Mod would evolve into the more basic Mod Revival, due to the chaotic youth tribes that were running about England at the time, Rockers, Skinheads, Soulies, New Romantics, Casuals! It was madness, but the Mods second wave proved to be a great time for a new wave of ideas,style, and music. Below is a list of my five favorite Mod Revival bands and my opinions on their music and their effect on the scene.
The Glory Boys hold a very special spot in the Mod Revival era, usually considered second to The Jam in terms of sheer popularity and their presence on the scene. I also hold them in high regard for their clothing choices, usually not to explosive, as some as their contemporaries tended to be. And in terms of sound they tend to lean closer to the Soulful roots of Modernism, especially evident in their disgustingly catchy cover of "Going to A Go-Go" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. But admittedly my favorite tune is their fan favorite "Time for Action", a great "Mod Anthem" that really does capture that feeling you get being the best dressed, and all the looks you get, bad or good.
The Purple Hearts
Getting to the more Punky side of the Mod revival while also keeping that chart friendly appeal of Power Pop, we have the Purple Hearts. With their name being an homage to a favorite Mod pill, The Purple Hearts captured the anger of the Mod Revival with hard hitting lyrics and raw chords and rhythm. Their biggest hit, "Millions Like Us", is another one of the big "Mod Anthems", but I personally prefer their single "Jimmy", named after the protagonist of The Who's "Quadrophenia". If you're a fan i'd personally suggest their compilation "Smashing Time" from Detour Records.
Perhaps the most "Pop-y" of the Revivalists, the Lambrettas provided accessible and catchy songs that stood out among the more hard hitting Chords and Hearts. Their biggest hit was a cover of "Poison Ivy" by Leiber and Stroller which reached #7 in the British Charts. Another great song of theirs is "D-a-a-ance", released as a single in 1980 and reached #12. Though perhaps their greatest accomplishment is Jez Bird's ability to almost pull off a bright red suit on Top of the Pops!
Sporting in my opinion the best cover of a soul song by any of the Mod Revivalists, The Chords brought a raw punk attack to a wide variety of styles. Their album "So Far Away" sports amazing originals like "Breaks My Heart" and covers ranging from The Beatles to Sam and Dave. "So Far Away" is my favorite LP from the era, and the Chords stand as my second favorite group of the Revivalists. Their biggest hit was "Maybe Tomorrow" which reached the top 40 in the U.K., and features one of the best ending lines in music history,
"Bang! Bang! You're Dead!"
The true catalysts of the explosion that was Mod Revival, Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, and Rick Buckler formed the hit trio "The Jam". Not held down completely by the "Mod Revival" genre, the Jam were by far the most diverse and artistically dynamic of the Mod/Punk groups. From "In the City" to "The Gift" the Jam brought Mod to the mainstream, for better or worse. My personal favorite track of theirs is "Down In the Tube Station at Midnight" with its intimidating rhythm and beautiful lyrics, but i think it'd be easier to list the (very few) songs I dislike. Simply an amazing band; and, to me, the best "Revival" band by far.
Hope everyone appreciates the list and be sure to share your opinions!