New State Music
The Beloved were ahead of the curve when it came to indie-dance. Originally a guitar band, they’d been converted to house in 1986 and were already attempting to bring its influence to bear on their sound when the acid house (read: ecstasy) wave hit the UK hard in ’88. Their songs thereafter are some of the most perfect encapsulations of the upsides of the E experience in pop form: capturing not just euphoria, but the renewal of innocence, the absurdist humour, the openness to conversation, the dissolving of underground and pop culture, the come-one-come-all ethos of parties. It was kind of a sunlit flipside to the barely sublimated violence, litany of freaks and dark discombobulations of Happy Mondays' MDMA mutterings. It was expressed to distilled perfection on their February 1990 Happiness album, but the real sound of that summer came with that album’s remixed version Blissed Out, and particularly its extended version available on cassette and thus a staple in car stereos as ravers head out “on a mission.” Singer Jon Marsh’s benevolent croon meanders through rave breakbeats, dancehall/dub, chugging Soul II Soul tempo beats, and lashings and lashings of acid riffs, reminding us all to keep grounded, enjoy the experience, look out for each other, cherish love etc etc. The fact that the same songs recur in multiple forms just perfectly expresses the extended delirious experience, like repeated motifs through a DJ set or club night.