The Puddle exist in isolation – not just from their Flying Nun peers in New Zealand, who can be bracketed as either the jangly Dunedin sound or as obtuse art-rock, but through George Henderson’s outsider status. Curious, then, that Playboys In The Bush starts with What I Believe, which has a hint of The Bats’ North By North.
That, though, is the only concession to The Puddle’s homeland bands. There are, of course, suggestions of other bands in their songs: The Smiths (Rainbow Bridge Airlines), The Kinks and T-Rex (English Speaking World), The Velvet Underground and Roxy Music (In Dreams), The Clientele (Sleepy People (Remember Dreams)), and Microdisney (Monogamy). The only common thread to these songs and the album as a whole, though, is that no band other than The Puddle would’ve dared imagine that such a configuration of ideas and ambitions could be organised into a pattern of psychedelic pop.
Playboys In The Bush was recorded five years ago. If it had been a lost album by Julian Cope – another outsider – then its release would have precipitated excited magazine features. Cope will probably feature it as an Unsung album of the month sometime in the next decade.
Craig Phillips of The Cavalcade, whose recent gigs have shown an appreciation of The Puddle’s blistering psych-pop, has made a video for English Speaking World.