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Flying Nun's Sister Act: The Story of Look Blue Go Purple

Thirty years later Dunedin's Look Blue Go Purple's folk pop is getting a second shine.

"They were one of the best bands of their time and the most undeservingly unappreciated," says Dunedin by way of Wellington musician Penelope Esplin, of French for Rabbits, Grawlixes, The Prophet Hens and Moon Lander. "They've inspired a generation of female musicians, most who stumbled across them and wondered why they weren't more famous."

Esplin is talking about Dunedin five-piece Look Blue Go Purple (LBGP), one of the most important acts to emerge within seminal New Zealand indie-rock label Flying Nun's early 80s second wave. "After I discovered them, I covered "Safety In Crosswords" with The Prophet Hens at a show," Esplin continues. I couldn't have been happier. I felt like I was introducing my generation to something really special."

Inspired by post-punk, and the lo-fi pop psychedelia of Dunedin at the time, LGBP let feeling guide their buoyant group vocals, sun-kissed guitar strum, keyboards, flute and rollicking rhythms as they dovetailed together into a wistful and yearning sound that's aged exquisitely. Between 1983 and 1987, they recorded and released three EPs through Flying Nun, Bewitched (1985), LBGPEP2 (1986) and This Is This (1988) and toured regularly with the likes of The Chills, The Bats and Straightjacket Fits.

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