M.I.A. was one of the 50 best So-Cal punk bands of the great early-'80s second wave explosion, but for some reason never received much lasting acclaim -- while seemingly all their brethren were acknowledged then and since. Sadly, their two best records, Notes From the Underground and After the Fact, are the period directly after this 37-song compendium. But Lost Boys, which captures their faster, harder beginnings, is still worth pursuing. This should have been chronological, as M.I.A.'s first release, the pulverizing, white-hot eight songs on their 1982 split LP, Last Rites for Genocide and M.I.A., is buried on tracks 14-21! Please start with them, as they're the best work here (including their pre-1985 zenith, the classic "Tell Me Why," as well as the explosive, tongue-in-cheek "I Hate Hippies"). It also puts in perspective the hardcore-thrash record they made for Alternative Tentacles, Murder in a Foreign Place. While this was their biggest seller, it's their weakest LP, with muffled production and thrash tempos that negate much of the band's melodic strength. Still, as thrash goes, this was a cut above all the sound-alike legions, more in league with Social Unrest, the young (L.A.) Youth Brigade, and the better D.C. bands. The leftist politics on these Murder tracks are anything but shrill and thoughtless, too; the title track is a reasonable condemnation of documented C.I.A. foreign intervention. In any case, hit the Last Rites stuff, and then skip to the 19 also-strong bonus tracks of various rarities (including a lot of great Notes territory in initial stages!) and live vault tracks that follow. These also include covers of hilarious punk-jokesters Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias ("Kill"), and a lighting tight and fast demolition of the Damned's "Machine Gun Etiquette."
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid