“One teacher said he didn’t know if I’d grow up to be a genius or a madman. For a long time I thought I’d have to choose.” George D Henderson
The Puddle’s 7th album, Secret Holiday/Victory Blues, is the sum of two proposed 5-track 10” EPs recorded a year apart and pulled together as a complete unit.
This collection is Henderson’s response to 30 years of under-appreciation for their urgent psychedelia, sweet pop sentiments and garage rock undertones. A deliberately more commercial offering than previous albums, Secret Holiday/Victory Blues burns with a quiet fury.
Pitched somewhere between Julian Cope’s fried krautrock and pop, The Clean’s wayward tunes and Orange Juice’s oblique vision of a new pop future, this album features Graeme Humphreys (Able Tasmans, Humphreys & Keen) on keyboards and multi-instrumentalist Alan Starrett (Pop Art Toasters, The Bats, Mink etc.)
No could ever accuse The Puddle of making the same album twice. With Secret Holiday/Victory Blues, they’ve made two different EPs and then released them as one coherent album. What was that John Peel said about The Fall? “They are always different, they are always the same.” Read The Puddle for that ideal, too.
If there’s a constant in The Puddle’s unique, expansive outlook, it’s Henderson’s idea that “there were a few bands like Microdisney or The Smiths or Orange Juice … I thought, `why aren’t people doing this? It’s great’. So I had to do it. No-one else was going to.”
No one else is doing what The Puddle do: the mixture of T-Rex stomp and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd on Oh Hayley (You’re Right), for instance. Or the sadness of The Go-Betweens’ Before Hollywood and the fire of Television’s Adventure on Secret Holiday.
Whether or not Henderson’s glorious attempt at reaching for the skies and grabbing stars will give them a well-deserved 2012 hit is one thing; these songs will last. People will come round eventually