The doughty folk at Detour embarked on their mission of putting together an Onlookers retrospective 15 years ago, but the band’s demo tape remained lost until Polydor A&R man Dennis Munday came up with his copy.
Emerging from Slough in time for the late 70s, the mod revival fitted The Onlookers like a well-tailored Italian glove, yet they only managed to appear on two official releases. Two tracks, Houseman and Mystic Surrounds Me, appeared on the Chick label’s Subway compilation in 1981, by which time the band were already edging into psych. Their sole 7”, the three-track You And I EP, was released by Demon the following year. A planned single release of Houseman never came to be and, after barely a year together, The Onlookers split in the summer of 1982.
Jam producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven oversaw production of the group’s one demo in RAK studios, during one day in 1981. Sixteen of the 20 songs they recorded are captured here – alongside both the single and Subway tracks – all newly restored and sounding fabulous.
Crisp, jangly, beat-poppy and psychedelic – with a post-punk punch and great songs such as You And I, Houseman and Chieftan – The Onlookers had it all.