Action Painting (The Numero Group)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Dec. 8, 2017
The Creation would be a Sixties footnote if not for Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Paul Weller, and Alan McGee singing the UK foursome's praises. Additionally, 1967 single "How Does It Feel to Feel" was covered by both the Godfathers and Ride, and 1966 debut 7-inch "Making Time" appears prominently on the soundtrack of director Wes Anderson's film Rushmore.
Ignoring Eighties and Nineties comeback efforts, the handsome, 2-CD Action Painting collects the Creation's initial recordings, including its only LP, 1967's We Are Paintermen, augmented by nine singles, alternate mixes, and sides by predecessor act the Mark Four. The usual R&B covers exercised by all pop/rock combos in Great Britain during the era don't fare any better than those of the Kinks or the Who, but the band's originals rise above such meager beginnings.
Enthralled by the latter hitmakers' potent combo of pop, burly power chords, and surf-infused drumming, the Creation turns "Making Time" into a minor classic. The Small Faces' post-mod years (1967's "Life Is Just Beginning") and Beatlesque psychedelia ("Ostrich Man," "I Am the Walker," also '67) also make an impact. Though stylistically derivative of their peers, the songs pack enough punch to take flight.
"How Does It Feel to Feel," though, feels prescient. The Fifties drumbeat, sing-song tagline, and amped-up voltage, particularly on the sizzling U.S. version, point toward glam rock. An 80-page hardback book of essays and track-by-track analysis makes Action Painting definitive Creation.