This is worth buying for the liner notes alone. The Rads’ Phil Chevron displays his fine penmanship in an explanation of the fascinating background to this equally fine collection of cover versions of songs by the Irish beat and psychedelic groups of the 1960s and early ‘70s. What you get sonically is another example of the individual talents that led the Radiators’ rise from being Ireland’s first punk band to the collective force behind the great Ghostown album. Sound City Beat reveals what was going on underneath the mainstream back in the day as the Radiators interpret rather than copy songs ranging from the more obvious Gloria by Them to The Taste’s It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again to Yes, I Need Someone by the legendary Eire Apparent. Effortlessly unique, the album isn’t as disparate a listen as you’d assume, and it’s obvious that the Rads had their thinking caps on during this hugely impressive labour of love. It begs a question, though: if the originals sound half as good as this lot, why the hell were people back then listening to the showbands?

John Byrne