X-Ray Spex

Conscious Consumer

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When the original X-Ray Spex disbanded and Poly Styrene joined the Hare Krishnas, rather wild speculation ensued among some fans that she'd gone off the deep end. She's still in the Hare Krishna sect, but this unexpected comeback effort demonstrates that her world view hasn't changed all that much since the punk era, though the music (much of which was written over ten years before this was recorded) has mellowed somewhat. She's still examining the crassness of consumer culture on cuts like "Cigarettes" and "Junk Food Junkie," but her experiences as an adult are reflected in more subdued cuts like "India" and "Prayer for Peace." Original group members Lora Logic and Paul Dean are still on board for this outing, which finds Styrene in just as good a voice as the old days, though the brash exuberance has been toned down. It might not be all that old-school punk fans would wish for, but it's worth checking out, and the languid "Crystal Clear" may be the catchiest tune she's ever laid down.

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