If the Merton Parkas had called their debut LP Just Another Face in the Neo-Mod Crowd, no further explanation would have been needed.
This unmemorable group had nondescript vocals, tame playing (guitar and piano so polite as to be biteless even at high volume) and dull songs (a cover of Tears Of A Clown not excepted).
They do deserve two points for the name, a pun combining the band’s South London neighbourhood (Merton Park) and the essential mod garment – Ha, ha.
The band was formed by brothers Mick and Danny Talbot along with Neil Hurrel and Simon Smith in 1978, and known in a past life as The Sneakers. They became one of the first of the Mod Revival bands to release an album, Face In The Crowd, which featured the hit single You Need Wheels.
While many of the movement’s followers took a more serious approach, The Merton Parkas tapped into the novelty side of the genre, becoming something of a mod version of Madness, though less innovative (and less interesting).
A follow-up single, Plastic Smile, was a far superior selection from the Face In The Crowd album. Even better was their final single, Put Me In The Picture (1980).
The group finally earned posthumous notoriety when keyboardist Mick Talbot became Paul Weller‘s partner in The Style Council (following a stint in Dexys Midnight Runners), while Simon Smith later played with Mood Six and The Times.