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Junior’s Eyes: Battersea Power Station

Not quite powerful enough.

The one and only Junior’s Eyes album suggested a collision course between British psychedelia and progressive hard rock but didn’t make sense of either direction.

Maybe it fell between two stools because of Hull-born leader Mick Wayne’s contemporary association with David Bowie – he played guitar on Bowie’s Philips album, principally the staggering solos on Space Oddity and Janine.

Working with possibly distracted producer Tony Visconti, Junior’s Eyes explored a loose apocalyptic concept starting from Total War, with a residue of stronger ideas like the fierce Playtime, one of those ‘made in 1969’ songs that still thrills today.

The rest of the group weren’t up to Wayne’s standard and a muddy mix only highlighted the frustrating notion that with better direction from Visconti, they could have completed something more memorable.

A second CD featuring Wayne’s 1967 single with The Tickle, Subway (Smokey Pokey World), has the energy the long-player lacks. The addition of other 45s, demos and BBC Sessions round things out, as does the inclusion of a poignant eulogy from Wayne’s daughter (Mick died in a house fire in 1994), but the Major Tom link adds a mystique the Battersea album can’t match./o:p

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.