After having numerous hits during the ’60s, the Searchers were still trying to keep fans and get new ones, but the music scene had changed a lot since their heyday. Luckily the time was ripe for short, tight pop-rock that they were good at playing. The punk/new wave scene was not looking for old guys just pretending to be part of the scene, these guys were loving the fact that they could learn a bit from the new school and mix it with their sound and fit right in. The two albums that they released were as good as many of the top stars at the time, but for some reason, they still stayed on the edge of what was happening. This collects both of their albums, plus bonus songs and proves just how good they were during this time period and what people missed out on.
“Hearts in Her Eyes” is a fantastic song that was released as a single and went nowhere sadly. “This Kind of Love Affair” is another great song that would have been a great hit, but again, the band had no luck. “No Dancing” is another song that is full of energy and sounds perfect for the times. The first album showed just how good the band was and had more than enough songs to satisfy anyone who took the time to listen to them. After the eponymous first album, second album Love’s Melodies (released as Play for Today in the UK) was even better. Moon Martin’s “She’s Made a Fool of You” is a great song that shows how good the band was. This also applies to their version of John Fogerty’s “Another Saturday Night.” These two songs are full of fun and give the listener a smile on their face and some bounce in their step. “Radio Romance” and Big Star’s “September Gurls” are another pair of songs that stand out on the album. Both discs have bonus tracks added, the first has three worthy alternate mixes, and the second has “Sick and Tired” (which was on the UK’s Play for Today but not Love’s Melodies), “Changing” (the B-side to the “Love’s Melody” single), and “Back to the War” and “Ambulance Chaser.” The booklet contains album cover artwork from the different territories, and an essay from Scott Schinder, with new interviews from the band’s John McNally and Frank Allen.
This release gives power-pop fans a great collection of songs that managed to slip away from listeners when they were first released. It shows just how good a band that was contemporaries of the Beatles could still knock out music that was every bit as good as younger bands of the time. A very worthy collection.