THE JAGS, No Tie Like A Present, LP USED

The second album by the Jags is great, fun listening. Starting out with a cover of the Tremelos’ “Here Comes My Baby,” it rolls on through a series of very English-sounding pop tunes written by band members. Very reminiscent of the early ’80s, it nevertheless has a lot of spunk — check out the surfer instrumental “Silver Birds” and you won’t be disappointed.

The Jags are a fondly remembered one-hit wonder of the late-70s U.K. power pop explosion. The quartet was formed in 1978 by the Yorkshire-based songwriting team of Nick Watkins (vocals) and John “Twink” Adler (guitar), with Steve Prudence (bass) and Alex Baird (drums). In July of 1978, they signed to Island Records and released a promising four-track EP. Their debut LP in 1980, Evening Standards, included the memorable, though highly derivative, “Back of My Hand,” which had reached the U.K. Top 40 the previous fall. The follow-up, “Woman’s World” barely scraped its way on to the charts. Though Evening Standards featured a really solid set of punchy power pop songs, critics focused instead on Watkins’ Costello-like delivery, writing the band off as merely mimics. As steam ran out of the power pop craze, the band attempted to change their sound a bit. 1981’s No Tie Like the Present featured a slightly new direction, but it was generally overlooked. By 1982, the Jags had disbanded for good, though “Back of My Hand” had a revival of sorts in the ’90s, appearing on several compilations.


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