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Cypress/Afoot

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 12, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

One of the biggest gaps in ’80s rock—nay, THE biggest gap—would have to be the absence on CD of R.E.M. producer and southern underground rock icon Mitch Easter’s band Let’s Active. Composed on these two albums of Easter, bassist Faye Hunter and drummer Sara Romweber, Let’s Active blended psychedelic production, bubblegum melodies and that Athens-rock jangly guitar sound to create an American answer to the new wave bands from Britain that were sweeping the country at the time. We’re thrilled to announce that we’re going to release the entire Let’s Active catalog, and here we’ve put together their 1983 EP 'Afoot' and their 1984 debut LP 'Cypress', plus two bonus tracks for a total of 20 tracks of irresistible jangle pop. Includes from 'Afoot—Every Word Means No; Make Up with Me; Edge of the World; Room with a View; In Between', and 'Leader of Men'. From 'Cypress—Easy Does; Waters Part; Lowdown; Gravel Truck; Crows on a Phone Line; Ring True; Blue Line; Flags for Everything; Prey; Co-Star; Ornamental', and 'Counting Down'. And 'Grey Scale' and 'Two Yous' are the bonus tracks. We’ve also included new liner notes…an indispensable ’80s 'Collectors’ Choice Music' exclusive!

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cypress: Easy Does It
  2. Cypress: Waters Part
  3. Cypress: Lowdown
  4. Cypress: Gravel Truck
  5. Cypress: Crows On A Phone Line
  6. Cypress: Ring True
  7. Cypress: Blue Line
  8. Cypress: Flags For Everything
  9. Cypress: Prey
  10. Cypress: Co-Star
  11. Cypress: Ornamental
  12. Cypress: Counting Down
  13. Cypress: Grey Scale
  14. Afoot: Every Word Means No
  15. Afoot: Make Up With Me
  16. Afoot: Edge Of The World
  17. Afoot: Room With A View
  18. Afoot: In Between
  19. Afoot: Leaders Of Men
  20. Afoot: Two Yous


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 12, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 1983
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B00009PBGG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,557 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Let's Active Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is some of the best rock/pop to have been recorded in the 1980's. It was perhaps too good, too deep to be perceived by the masses as such, despite the fact that bandleader Mitch Easter was a reigning "hip priest" due to his role in R.E.M.'s first three records and a host of other projects.
Easter's production of these records is rather great, full of pastoral sounds and colors layered on top of the band. His material is rather strong. The band play rather well. All in all, it's the state of the art for independent music circa 1984 and it's astonishingly good. However good you think this might be, it's better. In a fairer world, this would have been bigger than U2 or R.E.M. (as would the dBs' first two albums).
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Format: Audio CD
I saw Let's Active open for R.E.M. in '83 when they were promoting afoot and Murmur respectively. Spent the whole Let's Active set with a friend screaming "They sound like the bleeping Monkees" disparagingly in my ear. By set's end, my response was "I love the bleeping Monkees!" And I love this band. Smart, catchy, jangly, and pristine, this is American pop at its best. Mitch Easter as producer/player has been responsible for some of the gems of the last twenty years, from R.E.M., Primitons, and Game Theory through Velvet Crush. He is overdue for praise and recognition. Maybe he'll get it with the second go-round of these releases.
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Format: Audio CD
If heaven is going to have a "pop" soundtrack playing at all times, then my friends, this is THE CD that should fit the bill. It is about as irresistable and satisfying as a pure pop album can be, with plenty of goodies and surprises in store for all pop and rock fans. Why this band didn't become a household name in the 80's will forever be a mystery and a big mistake. Simply put, it doesn't get any better than this. I would highly encourage music lovers in general to purchase this CD. You absolutely, positively can not go wrong. Your money will be well invested.
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Format: Audio CD
Musicians say clearance bins are where records go to die, but I disagree. There are some records in clearance bins that have never really lived - at least not in the headspace of the record-buying public.

Eleven years ago, I happened upon an antiquated analog album - a cassette, of all dead media formats - at the dawn of the Age of the Digital Download. It was in a clearance bin along with a warped copy of The Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream that sounded like it had been submerged in dishwater. I was at Vintage Vinyl in the U. City Loop in St. Louis, MO, and I walked away with about ten albums that day: The aforementioned Pumpkins album, the Housemartins' The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death, and Depeche Mode's superb Some Great Reward, among others. But the prize catch was a beat-up copy of Let's Active's 1984 album Cypress. I had heard of Let's Active before, but I knew very little about them. It cost only a solitary dollar, and as an entry level public relations grunt, it was probably one of the only dollars I had.

I had no idea I was buying what would soon become one of my favorite records, and something of a lost album in the annals of rock `n' roll history. Sure, Cypress was reissued in 2003 through Collector's Choice by EMI, but it's already out of print again. On Amazon.com, Collector's Choice offers the following statement about the record: "One of the biggest gaps in `80s rock - nay, THE biggest gap - would have to be the absence on CD of R. E. M. producer and southern underground rock icon Mitch Easter's band Let's Active." Now that Cypress is out of print again, but still available in limited quantities for reasonable prices on the Web, its absence is like a gap in the grin of a 6-year-old whose front teeth are missing.
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Format: Audio CD
Clever, fun, catchy and generally excellent. Why is it that we don't get much answering to any of those descriptors these days? (Possibly because self-awareness and irony leave room for little else.)
Anyhow, buy Let's Active and hear it for yourself. The 80s scene went layers deeper than the famous headliners. The lesser known groups like Let's Active, The DBs or Guadalcanal Diary are a lot better than you might think. They're great groups that were overshadowed by the Michaelangelos of alt-pop. Take another (or a first) look and you'll see they stand on their own.
NB- It's my opinion that a regional "sound" is formed by a number of bands that feed off one another's influence. If you think some of this sounds like (early) REM, remember that REM sounds like them, too. History may be written by the supergroups, but these guys were peers in (and in fact the producers of) that jangly southern sound.
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By ASA on January 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I wore out my tape of Cypress. Afoot is great, but Cypress is amazing. I bought this while stationed in the Army. There weren't too many "new wave" tapes available at the PX, and I wasn't going to listen to Def Leppard or Bon Jovi. So I bought Cypress.

One of those rare tapes that I bought 20 years ago and still listen to every few months (The Jam's Snap and Setting Sons, and The Smith's Hatful of Hollow are 3 other tapes I never tired of).

Get this CD. Get it now! It is great. Thanks for reissuing it.
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