Neurotics

45 Revolutions a Minute: Singles 1979-1984

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One of the '80s (and England's) greatest punk/mod/political pop bands, the Neurotics (originally the "Newtown Neurotics") split after ten years of memorable singles, and here's a fantastic compilation of all of them, save for one (left off presumably because it consisted of two Ramones covers, "Blitzkrieg Bop," with the lyrics changed to an anti-nuclear-war song, and "I Remember You," plus a second version of their debut single, "Hypocrite," the lead track here). For old fans, there are two otherwise unreleased tracks, including a scathing anti-National Front poem by ace wordsmith Attila the Stockbroker called "Andy Is a Corporatist," set appropriately to the music of Neurotics' stunning "Mindless Violence" (found here separately). 1981's hot "When the Oil Runs Out" shows how still-current the lyrics of fantastic guitarist/songwriter Steve Drewett still are. Other more humorous topics include the humiliation of "can't get it up" during sex called "(Where Are You) When I Need You," a joke-romp through parent/punks relations ("No Sanctuary"), and an amusing ode to unrequited obsession ("You Said No"). Get past the first five cuts from 1979, which are primitively recorded (before a crucial drummer change), and you get one treasure after another. Do not miss this; few bands have made this writer think (and sing) more than this one, aside from much different fellow-Essex (and fellow intelligent socialist) star Billy Bragg, who once sang a duet with them. The reissue tacks on two extra tracks, the final two singles released by this one-of-a-kind trio before splitting in 1988 (the reggae-pop/punk "Never Thought," and a live cover of the Members' classic "Solitary Confinement," cleverly redone with totally new, relevant lyrics as "Living With Unemployment"), which we guess wouldn't fit on the original vinyl without loss of sound quality.

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