Menace

Crisis

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London 1977 punk outfit Menace never made an LP "back in the day," but the band did manage a string of five singles filled with the working-class common bloke spirit of the new punk explosion. Less known, but even better, the drummer, bassist, and guitarist made a much better power pop single in 1981 as the Aces, after they'd improved immensely. Still, pardon, but, umm...just what is Menace doing back now, with only drummer Noel Martin and bassist Charlie Casey returning? Can Congress and Parliament pass laws that no punk rock band can come back 25 years later without the original singer or the guitarist? Maybe the original modest talent level is replenishable, and there's nothing really wrong with this LP if you like the old stuff. But that doesn't make this Menace any more than if you and I were singing and guitaring. And, questions of legitimacy aside, singer John Lacey is nowhere near as dopey-cool as Morgan Webster was, as he strains to maintain pitch or melody in his sore sing-shouting. So even though Andrew Tweedie is able to replicate Steve Tannett's solid riffing, this feels even less reasonable. Those who aren't discerning about their old-timey punk will still enjoy Crisis, as it's still simple, catchy, aggressive, classic punk filled with nice crunchy riffs and singalong choruses. The unabashed nostalgia for their old fun in "Punk Rocker" and, interestingly, a new version of that Aces single, are also merry. A cover of Alternative TV's "Action Time Vision," with old friend Mark Perry of ATV reprising his old vocal, is the standout, too. But if not really a "feeling of being cheated," as per the old Sex Pistols stage sneer, this feels hard to accept or ultimately relish.

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