London

The Punk Rock Collection

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Best remembered for the presence of future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, both London and their Animal Games album were very much ranked in the lower regions of the punk hierarchy, just one more in the endless gaggle of bands who arose in response to the first wave of the movement without an original bone in their bodies. That, at least, is how the history books recall them, but the reality of the matter, as documented on this 15-track collection, is somewhat less scathing. Comprising Animal Games in its entirety together with sundry associated singles and EP tracks, The Punk Rock Collection opens with the volcanic "No Time," still one of the most vicariously thrilling noises of the entire era, and immediately paints a capital band who knew precisely what they were doing -- and believed in it wholeheartedly. Three successive chant-along singles -- "Everyone's a Winner," "Summer of Love," and "Animal Games" itself -- speak volumes for the preoccupations of the period, but the CD -- like the band -- reaches its ultimate peak among the bonus tracks with a stunning revitalization of the Easybeats' "Friday's on My Mind." Originally buried away on the Summer of Love EP, it is clearly modeled upon David Bowie's own revision of the song for his Pin-Ups album, but fed through with a spiky aggression that old Ziggy could never have predicted. Elsewhere, "Good Looking Girls" has a bright proto-power pop edge to it, while "Siouxsie Sue" -- well, you can probably guess who that's about. London did have their fair share of unremarkable rent-a-punk rockers, it is true. But The Punk Rock Collection contains sufficient surpassing gems to more than outweigh them.

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