Belbury Poly: The Belbury Tales
It feels like I’ve been here before… Perhaps it’s my age, but the Belbury Poly’s take on the world seems very familiar, if not entirely right. I couldn’t tell you whether the mostly electronic sounds are authentic – I leave that to my blogging partner – but the sense of place and time are entirely convincing to anyone who soaked up enough TV and film music in the 1970s and early 1980s. Of course at that age you have no idea that this is part of a genre; but I challenge you to listen to something like ‘A Pilgrim’s Path’ and not remember this playing out over the ending to the final episode of a six part series, maybe after one of those Seventies Endings…
The whole thing is strung together in the booklet by a short story by Rob Young, author of the brilliant Electric Eden, which gives the whole thing a convincing home amongst the traditions of lightly-fried English folk. There’s a fantastic interview with Jim Jupp (who is Belbury Poly) here that does an excellent job of exploring this imaginary past and the imaginary village of Belbury.
My enjoyment of listening to this was magnified by the coincidence of tracking down a series of science fiction short story collections by David Hutchinson that I loved in my early teens. Their covers look like the kind of thing the Ghost Box people do so well:
Some of the stories relocate old terrors to the late 1970s and early 1980s, which is why they seem to fit the flutes and electronics of The Poly. So whether you’re a genuine seeker after the earth mysteries or the old straight track, or have a faint memory of watching a programme about a moustachioed psychic detective who drove an MG Midget, this really is your passport to another world. A better one, I think.
You can buy this here:
Album preview here: