From a background working in left-wing English fringe theatre groups, Punishment Of Luxury (aka Punilux) specialized in earnest critiques of western capitalism, utilizing both punk and progressive rock elements. The line-up for the first of the group’s two sessions for John Peel in August 1978 featured Brian Bond (vocals, keyboards), Jeff Thwaite (drums), Malla Cabbala (guitar, vocals), Nevill Luxury (guitar, keyboards) and Jimmy Giro (bass). By the advent of their second session the following year, Steve Secret (aka Steve Sekrit) had replaced Thwaite and dispensed with Cabbala’s services. The same line-up was responsible for recording The Laughing Academy; in later years consigned to Mojo magazine’s Hall Of Shame as one of the 100 worst albums of all time, such criticism is unnecessarily harsh. Although there was undoubtedly something fabricated about the group’s music, the album did include one great moment - the raucous ‘Puppet Life’ single. Herein progressive rock met punk and produced an unlikely, Sparks -like triumph. Elsewhere their heady politicization and self-conscious strangeness could indeed be offputting, especially with the uneven marriage of keyboards and guitars. The album was finally reissued on CD in 1996 - a gap reflecting their critical and popular standing.
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