The GC5

Never Bet the Devil Your Head

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In late 2001, the GC5 released a compilation of tracks called Singles Collection (1997-2000) as the first release on Cosa Nostra Records, their own label started with Mark Linskey of the Hudson Falcons. That collection traced a distinct arc of the band, starting with another fast and shouty unknown punk band and following as the band developed their chops, both in musicianship and songwriting. It's quite appropriate that their next release, Never Bet the Devil Your Head, represents an evolutionary leap of the band. Great strides have been made in this album, involving everything from a vast improvement in album form and packaging to the songcraft, stylistic variance, and overall compelling impulse. This is a great album, allowing for the band to show off their standard of fast and shouty street punk/Oi!-based rock & roll, but demonstrating that the GC5 are moving beyond what they were, even surpassing labelmates and friends the Hudson Falcons. Imagine a band fueled by the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, the Dropkick Murphys, and the raspy cough of the peak-Pogues-era Shane MacGowan, shown here in the delivery of Doug McKean and Pete Kyrou. Never Bet the Devil Your Head is a fun record, ushering the GC5 into new territory and making the follow-up release a much anticipated recording. The album was picked up and reissued by Thick Records soon after its initial release in 2002.

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