Kevin Coyne

Dynamite Daze

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When it picked up the Sex Pistols' contract from A&M Records and released the landmark Never Mind the Bollocks, Virgin Records simultaneously cemented a new reputation as the punk and post-punk label, a standing it would maintain for the next several years, and casually destroyed the careers of most of the progressive rockers that had made Virgin the major presence it was. This is the subtext of Kevin Coyne's first post-punk album, 1978's Dynamite Daze. Although the title track, which looks approvingly upon the musical sea change, sounds a bit like bandwagon-jumping, the new generation of rockers seems to have revitalized Coyne's songwriting; he hasn't sounded this engaged since 1973's career high point, Marjory Razorblade. The scrabbling acoustic rhythm guitars of "Brothers of Mine" goose both singer and song into a more manic feel than is usual for Coyne, and the gripping "Lunatic" recalls the harrowing case studies of mental illness that populate Coyne's earlier albums, in a more atmospheric musical setting that recalls Peter Gabriel's first couple of solo albums. The highest point is the seething, sarcastically disco-tinged "I Really Live Round Here (False Friends)," one of Coyne's most direct and accessible songs. Although the punk revolution had foolishly tossed Kevin Coyne out with his progressive rock brethren, Dynamite Daze proves that he had more in common with his spiky-haired successors than they might have cared to admit.

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