I Didn't See It Coming

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Give guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook credit: Instead of resting on their 1977-era laurels, they reasserted themselves on what wound up being their only joint post-Sex Pistols album (not counting production or sessions). Although Cook and Jones lacked the combustive charisma of Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious, they made up for those shortcomings with plenty of musical firepower. Unfortunately, the public would wait nearly two years to find out, but this reissue of the long-delayed I Didn't See It Coming album makes a good case for its re-evaluation. Cook and Jones hadn't lost their ear for the well-turned anthem; the anti-cop "Little Boys," the music industry slam of "Payola," "Northern Slide," and "Kick Down the Doors" are among the tracks bearing repeated spins. "&The Magnificent" opens matters with a sly send-up of Rotten's post-Pistols band, Public Image Limited, with the requisite scratchy guitar to match. The quieter moments work equally well, too: "Crescendo" is a punked-up power ballad, while "Friday Night Square" sketches a vivid snapshot of walking aimlessly around, checking out the sleazy nightlife. The band's approach is direct as its music. Jones upholds his reputation as punk's answer to Chuck Berry, while Cook's support is steady and unflinching. Former Subway Sect bassist Paul Meyers and guitarist Ray McVeigh lend quiet, unassuming support. The best news here are the eight bonus tracks of singles that preceded the album -- such as the rousing "&1-2-3-4," which became a live staple. All the relevant stuff is here, so punk fans shouldn't miss this one.

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