The Stiffs

Stiffology 1981-1988

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This includes nothing from the several singles the Stiffs managed to officially release on the Dork, EMI-Zonophone, and Stiff labels. Nonetheless, this is the most comprehensive collection of Stiffs material available, including unreleased demos and outtakes from the early '80s, a 1982 Radio One session, a little unreleased material from 1985 and 1988, and released and unreleased songs by spin-off bands Idol Rich and Vicious Rumours. It's all presented with great portent, of course, in the 16-page booklet, with liner notes by ex-Mott the Hoople member Dale Griffin, who did some production work with them (and also drummed on their Radio One session). For all the assiduous accumulation of enough material to make a presentable disc, it doesn't add up to much of significance. The Stiffs played anthemic rock that crossed a bar band ethos with pub rock and hints of punk and new wave, without much in the way of tuneage or originality. There was a brash energy of the sort that would be called "laddish" in the British press in the 1990s. Disco-ish and dance-pop rhythms creep in on the Idol Rich cuts, while the 1985 and especially 1988 material have a disagreeably corporate rock sheen.

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