Village Green Machine is to all intents and purposes a one-man operation, the man in question being the estimable Mark Lemon: and a man of considerable taste and refinement he is. England's Dreaming Spires, as its title readily suggests, taps into a very specific and cherishable vein of UK popsike. However, while Marks unadorned English singing voice betrays a loving debt to Syd Barrett and often calls to mind David Gedge of The Wedding Present, oddly the finished product utilises a considerably broader palette than one might expect. The super-clean guitars and splashy drums, deliriously awash in a bath of reverb, are closer in essence to Joe Meek than George Martin, while Marks lyrics throughout are sharply observant, wholly contemporary, insightful and witty.
You Make Me Feel That Way, Rollercoaster and The Whole Of My Heart, all effortlessly immediate, would be hit records in any truly civilised society, while My Eccentric Cousin is what 65-era Dylan would have sounded like sharing a travelling rug with Phil Spector in a rainy Birmingham bus shelter.
Marco Rossi (Shindig!)
England's Dreaming Spires CD - Just £6.95+£1.20P&P