Spinal Tap rip-off or hilarious English parody-of-a-parody? Comedy is so subjective to review -- either you laugh or you don't -- but Bad News provides more belly laughs than Spinal Tap. The essential difference in Bad News' shtick versus their Stateside counterparts is while the latter parodied the excesses of arena-rock stardom by focusing on a band good enough to be welcomed to the machine but stupid enough to be lost in it, Bad News (Comic Strip and Young Ones regulars Rik Mayall, Niger Planer, and Adrian Edmonson, along with actor and writer Peter Richardson) focuses on a band that barely have enough talent to record a song -- and if you've ever spent time in a band in high school or college, the petty bickering and dumb behavior of Bad News rings true. Interspersed between several intentionally terrible (and thankfully short) songs such as "Drink Till I Die" and "Masturbike" are what sound like mainly improvised and edited routines, wherein the band tries to record a Tolkein-meets-Iron Maiden mood-setting introduction ("Excalibur"), attempts to get one good song out of the bass player ("Hey, Mr. Bassman"), and engages in lots of funny arguing and, eventually, fighting. The album holds up over time, with many throwaway jokes revealing themselves only after years of listening. Recommended to fans of 1980s British humor. The CD reissue from Rhino contains the full album, plus tracks from their cassette-only release Bootleg and their Yuletide single "Cashing in on Christmas."
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AllMusic Review by Ted Mills