Recorded simultaneously with Nick Lowe's Labour of Lust, Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary continues the winning streak of Get It and Tracks on Wax 4 simply by sticking to the formula. Though Rockpile's sound is a little cleaner here than before, nothing's changed but the songs, which are uniformly excellent. Culled primarily from pub rock contemporaries (and containing no Lowe songs whatsoever), the record contains four classics: Elvis Costello's galloping "Girls Talk," and Graham Parker's relentless "Crawling from the Wreckage," the funny (a rarity of Edmunds) "Creature from the Black Lagoon," and the country-rocker "Queen of Hearts," which would later become a hit for Juice Newton in exactly the same arrangement. A few songs come close to meeting this high standard, but they are occasionally hampered by a tightness similar to the pinched rhythms of Subtle as a Flying Mallet; in particular, the early Huey Lewis song "Bad Is Bad" and the old Brinsley Schwarz number "Home in My Hand" are hurt by this. But these are minor flaws -- Repeat When Necessary is an energetic, old-fashioned rock & roll record that ranks as Edmunds' last great album.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine