Look Blue Go Purple: Compilation (1991)

New Zealand's oddly-named Look Blue Go Purple were part of the stable of fantastic bands on the Flying Nun label.  Like label-mates the Bats (and, to a lesser extent, the Clean), LBGP offered jangly post-garage band rock, though more folky and restrained, dominated by acoustic guitars and organ strains (with the occasional flute).  Most notably, unlike the (mostly) boys club of the Flying Nun bands, LBGP were an all-women ensemble, though wispy vocals aside they remained sonically similar to some of their peers.  If the Bats' pastoral jangle resembled the Feelies circa the Good Earth, LBGP seemed to presage Feelies offshoot Speed the Plough.

Compilation combines the band's three EPs, released between '85 and '88.  (A later collection, Still Bewitched, reprised those tracks and added some live cuts.)

Much of this is more atmospheric than hooky, a backdrop of mellow, folky indie rock, though a few tunes stand out.  "Cactus Cat" is as close as they came to a pop song, infectious and sweet and just a bang-up lovable tune; quite simply, it's one of the best Flying Nun tracks of the era.  Likewise, "I Don't Want You Anyway," for all it's bad break-up pointedness, is a winning little ditty.  And "Grace" is buoyant and lovely.  Others, like "Circumspect Penelope," strike a similar tone as, say, the Bats' "North by North," understated psychedelic garage rock with the droning moodiness offset by the engaging harmonies; while they occasionally invoke tribal-sounding post-punk pioneers like the Slits (i.e. on "Hiawatha").

If you're a fan of Kiwi rock but haven't checked out Look Blue Go Purple, you're missing out; give 'em a spin.

Here's the video for "Cactus Cat":
Here's a live "Circumspect Penelope":
...and a live take on "I Don't Want You Anyway":


  1. Nice to see this one pop up! So much beauty in these songs. I was introduced to these women through some of the fine Flying Nun/NZ pop compilations that were coming out at the time. I was shocked to come across their import CD (which compiled three EPs) at the swap meet for only 2 bucks -- still one of my best scores!

    1. I miss those swap meet days. My buddy & I used to go to the "rock & swap" conventions hosted once or twice a year by the local college radio stations. Great place to buy bootlegs back in the days before downloads & torrents.


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