Stiff Little Fingers

Can't Believe in You

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After the abomination that was their comeback LP Flags & Emblems, with the worst production heard since the Teen Idles, listeners should try the single first before buying Stiff Little Fingers' follow-up (sixth) LP. This is definitely better recorded and mastered, and Jake Burns has come up with a catchy song this time, kind of in the vein of Go for It's "Gate 49" without the rockabilly-isms, but what in the wide world of sports is this new guitar sound Burns is using? If it were any more bad '80s classic rock, it would be by April Wine. It's not so bad that it kills all enjoyment of the song, as it mostly stays in the background, but it sure tries its damnedest. And it's way worse on the rotten B-side "What if I Want More," which is so offensively awful it's still probably best to approach the LP with caution. With the departure of Henry Cluney, who got pushed out because he didn't like band manager Russell Emanuel, Burns is now the only original member remaining, though Dolphin Taylor joined on the fourth LP Now Then back in 1982 and Bruce Foxton is obviously an old contemporary from his '70s days in the Jam. But this single sounds more like a stadium dinosaur rock band, more Def Leppard than the Clash (as was their origins). And like many dinosaurs that don't know when to call it a day, the original cast of SLF has eroded again (original bassist Ali McMordie quit a few years ago). Fans can be forgiven if they start to wish the band had never come back from a six-year grave, or at least disbanded after those two hot U.S. reunion tours of 1989 and 1991.