Back the days during the height of the mod rock movement 1963-68, a handful of bands lead the way. Their influences have persisted across the decades of rock and roll history. The biggest mod bands at the time were The Who, The Small Faces, and The Kinks, but a band that arguably belonged in that strata was The Creation. Produced by Shel Talmy (early producer of The Who) the band traveled in the same circles and hit it big (relatively speaking) in 1966 with “Making Time” and “Painter Man.”
The band line-up never stayed consistent, with their rotating membership contributing to their eventual breakup in 1968. But the band’s short life was profoundly influential on many artists following them including Paul Weller, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, and many others. They re-formed in the mid-’80s and, despite having only one original member left (guitarist Eddie Phillips), they’ve soldiered on.
The two-disc Action Painting starts with their best-known hit “Making Time,” featured in the 1998 film Rushmore (and its accompanying soundtrack) which led many people to “rediscover” The Creation. Next up is “Try and Stop Me,” classic mod and very much a companion to The Who’s “I Can’t Explain.” Their rougher R&B influences inform many of the following tracks, including “Painter Man” and “Biff, Bang, Pow” that feature quick tempos and distinctive guitar rhythms.
The band even flirts with baroque pop on “Life Is Just Beginning,” complete with orchestral strings comparable to The Left Banke. But what sets the band apart is their variety in style and pure talent. Even lesser tracks like “How Does It Feel To Feel” crackle with energy. This box set also includes the band’s origins as The Mark Four, with four rare tracks that stylistically fall between The Rolling Stones and The Animals. It’s also pretty nice to get full stereo remixes along with the clean mono originals.
Action Painting does what past compilations have not done. It gathers The Creation’s output, remastered, including stereo covers of “Hey Joe,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” and “Cool Jerk”. This box set is definitive with all The Creation you ever need. The hard case packaging is gorgeous with color photos and track-by-track essays of the key tracks. This is essential for lovers of rock and roll, especially if you loved the mid-sixties era of garage rock and blues-influenced mod.