Formed in the English post-war ‘new town’ of Harlow, Essex, the Newtown Neurotics produced a fine blend of pop and punk rock with a strong left-wing political slant. Formed in the spring of 1978, the group comprised Steve Drewett (vocals/guitars), Colin Dredd (bass/vocals) and Tiggy Barber (drums). ‘Hypocrite’ (1979) and ‘When The Oil Runs Out’ (1980) appeared on their own No Wonder label, after which Barber was replaced by Simon Lomond. The Neurotics became increasingly involved in the agit-pop and ranting poetry scenes throughout the 80s, regularly playing at benefit concerts and festivals with the likes of Attila The Stockbroker. The strong socialist rhetoric was apparent on their third single on the short-lived but impressive CNT label, ‘Kick Out The Tories’, in May 1982, followed in December by an attack on Britain’s ‘Licensing Hours’. When CNT folded, the Newtown Neurotics moved to Razor Records for their debut album. Beggars Can Be Choosers was an entertaining yet pertinent mix of scathing observation and new wave power and was promoted on single by a cover version of the Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. In November 1984 the band moved back to their No Wonder label for ‘Suzie Is A Heartbreaker’ (again hinting at a Ramones connection), before the Neurotics dropped the ‘Newtown’ from their name, signing to Jungle Records in the process. The first fruits of this contract emerged as Repercussions in 1985, showcasing a group that had lost none of its musical vigour or political evangelism. ‘Living With Unemployment’ followed in 1986 (with the help of ranting comedian Porky The Poet and the rumbustious Attila), preceding Kickstarting A Backfiring Nation. The Neurotics turned up occasionally during the late 80s (with Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?) while the new decade was celebrated with 45 Revolutions Per Minute, a singles compilation of the band’s ‘twelve blazing rock anthems’ from 1979-84. The band had actually broken up in October 1988 when bass player Colin Dredd contracted pleurisy, going on to play a series of astonishing farewell shows in Harlow with a stand-in bass player. Drewett and Mac went on to form the Unstoppable Beat.
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