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Now Hear This: The Prats | Prats Way Up High

I'm getting caught up on the good albums that have come out lately. Like this one.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Prats Way Up High is a compilation from cult Edinburgh punk upstarts The Prats that features reissued material from 1977-1981, including three non-album singles, demos and a previously unreleased 1979 John Peel session. Although not a household name amongst the plethora of late ’70s punk bands, The Prats have gone on to gain infamy due to a vocal fanbase and champions such as the legendary Peel, who enthusiastically proclaimed their session to be one of his favourites and offered to bankroll their first single himself.

Just 12-14 years old when they started out, it was their raw ambition and youthful energy that set them apart, and with an air of playful innocence their sound perfectly encapsulated the movements’ ability to transcend the pretentious and reach people of all backgrounds. They initially sent a demo tape to Edinburgh’s legendary indie label Fast Product (early home of The Human League) which led to the band’s debut on the Earcom 1 compilation EP, which featured a number of upcoming bands. In 1980 they released the now seminal 1990’s Pop EP and the single Disco Pope to critical acclaim.

In 2004 they went on to receive something of a late resurgence when their single General Davis was used in the opening credits and publicity for the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which reignited interest in their back catalogue. They’re the subjects of the upcoming documentary Poxy Pop Groups – The Story of The Prats by independent filmmaker Angus McPake.

Tragically, in July of this year bassist, Jeff Maguire passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer and the band have chosen to dedicate Prats Way Up High to his memory. In a statement, they say: “Jeff was always involved in the band — we used words like roadie and manager initially to describe his role although the reality is that we had very little idea what either of those meant! Jeff was great at engaging with people — a talent he displayed throughout his life and he had no problem collaring the great and the good of the local music scene, getting us gigs, support slots, interviews in fanzines etc. He eventually joined the band on bass and played on all three singles.”

On Prats Way Up High, there is something poetic to the low-fi approach and with the traditional lyrical juxtaposition of boredom and unrest that summed up the time, punk music has rarely sounded so pure and so untainted by expectation and inner politics. There’s a sense here that we’re listening to punk through the very lens of those it was made to inspire — the teens it taught to break convention and challenge the system they were being brought up in.”