The Direct Hits
The Direct Hits were Geno Buckmaster, guitar and vocals, Colin Swan bass and vocals, and Brian Grover on drums. They were a South London based trio, formerly known as The Exits (who had a single called Fashion Victim). The Direct Hits released a couple of singles and two albums Blow Up and House Of Secrets. And for a couple of years they were quite possibly my favourite band.
Blow Up came out in 1984. It is, like a lot of their material, very 1966 influenced. Groovy pop that leans into the psychedelic. Touchstones would be The Beatles Rubber Soul, The Who A Quick One and The Jam All Mod Cons. There are close harmonies and backwards guitars and in the 8 minute long Henry The Unhappy Inventor a mini rock opera. It’s all incredibly melodic and occasionally verges on the twee, but with a sense of melancholy that never fails to move me. Great music for sitting back and daydreaming. And, for all the obvious influences, The Direct Hits were very much their own band, with a very very individual sound. Live they were also one of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen!
In the summer of 1984 I almost didn’t listen to anything else but Blow Up. The second album House Of Secrets featured some great songs, but it lost the magic a little. And then that was that. I’m not sure what they did next. I know Colin Swan, who sang the majority of the songs, turned up a couple of years ago in a band called This Happy Breed. But apart from that nothing else. It almost makes the band perfect for me. No long slow decline into the ordinary; just a little burst of wonderful pop music that still stands up today.
You can find their music out there if you look hard enough. A compilation called The Magic Attic came out on CD in the 90s and looking through the iTunes store the other day I found Blow Up.
Somewhere it’s 1966 all year round, the scene is swinging and The Direct Hits are playing….