(Released 28 Oct 1977)

Sometimes timing is everything and a coming together of several ideas at a predestined moment seems to happen oh so rarely but when it does - man when it does! In a disintegrating Britain with music dead on its flatulent arse a spiked spark erupted and a flaming racket burst forth and took many an 'erberts breath right away. The Sex Pistols had talked the talk but could they walk the walk over the length of an album and put to rest all those doubting dicks who said the 'punks can't play'. 'Never Mind The Bollocks' was a massive move and still is a highly listenable piece of anger, outrage and blistering passion. The guitar, bass, drums and poisoned inflection of Lydon at the front right down to the reductionistic simplicity of Jamie Reid’s artwork all highlighted that this was a time when chance was well and truly ensnared and fucked up the jacksie with both furious fists.

For your ill-gotten gains comes forth 12 tracks of powerful punkage although the first original 1,000 copies did not have 'Submission' within the mix. I am so glad this effort made it a round dozen as it is a particularly strong piece and changes the pace quite satisfactorily. From the opening march and eventual sonic blast of 'Holidays In The Sun' to the final rasberried fuck off on 'E. M. I' this is a juggernaut of a journey and barges all resistance away with nothing more than articulated attention and incessant forthright persuasion. It is hard-boiled rock, it has no pretensions other than to crush and each and every track deserves its places on the cutting disc. 'Anarchy In The UK', 'God Save The Queen', and 'Pretty Vacant' are the three flag-flyers for most passing punkers but what about the rage of 'Bodies', the subtle melodies of 'Liar' and 'No Feelings', the cultured unpredictability of 'New York' and 'Problems' and the mocking hate of the aforementioned 'E. M. I'. Perhaps 'Seventeen' is my least favourite but it still has its own style and flavour and even this minor piece is far from just filling.

And so The Pistols did it, albeit with one smashing blow rather than a series of lighter punches the end result was the same - a shocking knockout victory. I have often wondered if the band had more than one album in them and have concluded that it doesn't really matter. This was what was needed and the end result speaks for itself. Within punk or on the outside respect must be given for a racket that, no matter what, is processed, is packaged but is - very fuckin' triumphant and victorious. It set a ball rolling and without it many would still be uninspired. Point made I think!

FUNGAL'S TOP TRACK : - 'Holiday's In The Sun' - a massive opening moment never to be forgotten and laying foundations for one helluva sonic structure



(Released 8 April 1977)

The early years of punk saw many diverse sounds as is still the case today but all those years ago the risk to step outside the unmentionable comfort zone was something of a sin and any band that did so deserved nothing less than utter respect.  Despite not being a Clash fan the first album does deserve appreciation though due to its eclectic outpourings, variation of sonica and general risk taking approach.  The problem with taking risks is undoubtedly that you increase the chances of becoming unstuck, something, to my lugs anyway, that happened to The Clash many times.  From the same outlook one has to admit that if one is willing to gamble one can sometimes pull out the odd snippet of utter genius which was something this crew did on several occasions.  This self-titled album is the bands finest moment and influenced many future spiked/non-spiked outfits and that is indeed a form of success money can’t buy.

Borne from the street, on the pulse of the social scene and with a temperament liable to spill over into an ‘out of control’ shambles the album remains in check and produces many high spots of varying styles.  ‘Janie Jones’ has a nervous energy and thrives as a result, ‘I’m So Bored With The U.S.A’ arouses interest with its typical punk title and then wins favours with its sneered vocals and easy to pick up and join in chorus, ‘Career Opportunities’ is 70’s dole queue rebellion of the rawest type and ‘London’s Burning’ tries to raise awareness of an idling tedium infecting a capital society via an angrily shouted staccato rant.  For me though there are 3 stand-out tracks that rise way above all the rest due to nothing more than excellent execution and a dedication to the chosen art.  ‘White Riot’ needs no introduction and is a pogoing delight to savour with a catch-line chorus to die for.  ‘What’s My Name’ has a sonic architecture that is strong, in ones face and full of defiance.  The haunting opening guitar twists are memorable and even though a couple of later covers have, for me anyway, outdone the original (The Skeptix and Prairie Dugz take a bow) you gotta pay homage to a piece of inspiration.  Finally the reggae rhythm of ‘Police And Thieves’ is excellence personified and captures a black/white crossover period punk rock is guilty of not fully grasping.  Totally unwashed and urbanised but for the youth and for the man in the street of any colour.

So there you have it and despite a few tracks I consider weak and are not to my personal preference (such is the individual) I know many who have a different favourite and some who find this absolutely faultless.  Like I say I ain’t no Clash fan but I can, I hope, recognise a darn good piece of work that has brought pleasure to so many and encouraged a few arses to get up and have a go. 

FUNGAL'S TOP TRACK – 'Police And Thieves' – you gotta admire the commitment, the varying flavour and just the accuracy of melody.



(Released 1 November 1978)

Just sitting under the radar is a CD built on a fear of a synthetic existence where plastic, rayon and other man-made materials become omnipresent and all that is deemed natural is taken away, much to our loss.  'Germ Free Adolescence' is a unique offering loaded with untrained talent, genuine foresight and darn good musical artistry.  For me this classic album is seriously overlooked and not given the credit it duly deserves.  The band came with individuality and were led by an unconventional lass who defied the orthodox route and created a level of hope for all and sundry.  For me punk rock is encapsulated with ease during this solid album and many a door was subtly opened and many a chance taken - be grateful.
Track after track does the business here with 'Artificial' a remarkably effective drive constructed on cute words (which most tracks are), 'Identity' a wonderfully lovable noise that just gets entangled within ones own vibe-riddled soul, 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' a defiant yell of desperation to break away from life’s restricting shackles and 'Germ Free Adolescents' itself being a stunning, slow paced tale of teen trouble and cosmetic addiction.  Poly Styrene's vocals are marvellously raw with the voice breaking up on more than one occasion and as a consequence colouring up the whole mix and making for a more approachable listen.    The sax of course is a vital component and has an essence that is consistent throughout without being unnecessarily flamboyant.  Guitars and drums bring all together and success after success is achieved with each and every number.  'I Am A Poseur' has cockiness but is one for the rebellious and 'Genetic Engineering' has a meaner pulse and hits a different nerve with its bolder beat.  It is a masterclass of melody and one would be pushed to really find any damning flaws.
Beneath the entire sound there is a moral, there is a warning and all these years later I find the album still has appeal and a certain relevance.  We are becoming more processed, more 'created' rather than creative and in many respects more hygienically corrupted.  I still can't believe this album is over 30 years old and recommend if you are out there and new to punk then chase this one up, and if you are an old timer in the spiky pit then get this one out and spin again and re-appreciate.  I think you'll agree - wonderful stuff.

FUNGAL'S TOP TRACK – 'Artificial' – It has a persistence and a real flavour that sums up the bands approach and style and for me that can't be a bad thing.


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