I’m a sucker for a regional compilation, and while punk in its infancy produced so many great ones, my personal favourite has to be Brighton’s first installment into the canon; Vaultage ’78.
Virtually every track is a zinger, though there is one in particular that has us looking Sussexward for some skanky action this day.
Devil’s Dykes, as their name would suggest, hailed from (or at least near to) the South Downs valley that was allegedly dug by Lucifer himself in order to flood the many churches of the Weald area. Whether this is true or not, the old man in red is often credited with giving the world its best music and the Dykes’ contributions to Vaultage certainly give the idea some credence.
Plastic Flowers, beginning as a weary lament for a dying relationship, is a wonderfully wonky skanker, creaking along with cheap organs, wiry guitars and an instrument described in the sleeve credits as a ‘reggae scraper’ before increasing momentum to a veritable gallop as vocalist Jen Green casts off her shackles before our very ears at the song’s close.
Sadly this and their other contribution to V78, Fruitless, were the only tracks the Dykes ever released, but these along with everything else on the album are a testament to the beauty of British DIY pop, and should not be overlooked.