Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Smashing Time for More Than Just the Mods

Here's another one of those mid-'80s pop bands you tend to hear a lot on these pages. The Reflection hailed from Essex, and they got started in 1985 with a mess of Hammond organ and a couple of trumpets to go along with that jangle. Covers by the likes of the Action and Dobie Gray on stage helped gain a following with the mods, and there was a seven-song cassette of originals in late '85 featuring the excellent "No Compromise" you could pick up at their shows.

In 1986, the brass section was beefed up with some sax, making them a seven piece at that point, and their name was altered slightly to the Reflection A.O.B. to avoid confusion with another band that had a similar moniker. The band had some monumental slots opening for Makin' Time, Howlin Wilf & the Vee-Jays, the Kick, the Moment and even the legendary Geno Washington. A couple of these shows were at the 100 Club.

Principal songwriters Harks and Rich Drury whipped up four songs for the self-released "Only In My Dreams" 12" EP. It's one of those releases that should have raced up the indie charts, at the bare minimum, but it was not to be. Perhaps there is such a thing as being too indie, and coming out on the band's own Keep It label may have made it a tough find at the shops. In late '86, they become an eight piece with the addition of Sarah Beale on tenor sax. Alas, life began to get in the way, and members started defecting. The Reflection A.O.B call it quits in late 1987.

Fast forward to 2011-12 and members of the band assembled 'The Complete Collection 1985-1987' as a digital download. The Reflection A.O.B. were a perfect fit for Firestation Records, and they picked up the compilation for physical release in 2015. The vinyl is out of print, but you can still get the CD from the German label. You'll hear some Dexys Midnight Runners in there (especially on "Paint Some Colour") and maybe even a little of the Jam. Based on the bands they opened for, you get the picture, but the Reflection A.O.B. were really doing there own thing. These ears are quite taken with their sophisticated sound. "Only in My Dreams" is a pop classic, and the instrumental "Mind the Gap" should be on your next mix when you take out the scooter.

Only in My Dreams
Mind the Gap

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