Eddie & the Hot Rods

Teenage Depression

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History records Eddie & the Hot Rods as the missing link between pub rock and punk, and their debut album, released at the tail end of 1976, proves that every word is true. Young, loud, snotty and incredibly fast, the riffs and rhythms are fuel-injected R&B, but the lyrics are teenaged disaffection with a forest on its shoulders. Even the album's covers, the Who's "The Kids Are Alright," Joe Tex's "Show Me," and Sam Cooke's "Shake," were selected for their swagger, while the title track is a proto-punk cry of anguish that makes the later new-wavers sound like a room full of spoiled children. The six-minute finale, "On the Run," is even stronger, a dead-end kid-style anthem about the ultimate outsider -- "the boy should be pitied, but they're getting me committed." The FX that drench the song's closing minutes, meanwhile, capture all the rage and confusion of the lyric, and give a hint of the sheer brutal power that was the Hot Rods when they really let loose -- a treat normally reserved for the live show. Isolated tastes of that particular beast do surface elsewhere on the album -- both "The Kids Are Alright" and "Been So Long" were recorded live at the Marquee on a baking-hot night in July 1976; the dozen bonus tracks appended to the CD reissue include four more from that memorable night, in the form of the legendary Live at the Marquee EP. Mach 10 versions of Van Morrison's "Gloria," Bob Seger's "Get Out of Denver," ? Mark's "96 Tears," and the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" further amplify the linkage between '60s garage and '70s punk, but, far more importantly, they give at least a hint of why witnesses still describe that particular show among the greatest gigs they ever attended. Five further tracks date from a Rainbow show nine months later, previously immortalized on the aptly named Live at the Speed of Sound EP; the CD is completed by the band's first two singles, including a crunchy cover of "Wooly Bully," produced by Roxy Music's Andy Mackay. They, however, are simply the icing on the cake. In late 1976, with punk still a flood of records waiting to happen, Teenage Depression was one of the only things that made it worthwhile to get up in the morning. And the Hot Rods live was the only thing that stopped you from getting straight back into bed.

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