The 4-Skins

The Good, the Bad & the 4-Skins

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The 4-Skins' riotous debut album was released in spring 1982, at a time when the music press at large still wasn't certain whether or not to take them dreadfully seriously -- skinheads, after all, were widely viewed as the root cause of almost all British youth's problems at that time, an image that too many of them seemed happy to live up to. A band that wore its allegiances this loudly (the 4-Skins were indeed four skins) was always going to raise sensitive hackles. Dive into the 4-Skins' album, however, and they were an awful lot of fun, a seething, stomping noisebox that clashed primal Sham 69 with classic Slade, and had so many rousing choruses and hooks that they often stuffed two or three into each song. And then there's "Yesterday's Heroes," which could have been a lost Jam jewel; "Remembrance Day," with its Rotten-esque hectoring...the list goes on. This is a great record, and it only gets greater, as side two drops listeners into the seething heart of a 4-Skins concert, and you can smell the denim and boot leather. [This CD reissue includes five bonus tracks.]

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