With No Refills!, one of the last great Detroit rock & roll bands without an album finally has one. It took long enough. This late-'70s combo consisting of singer Johnny Angelos, who was reputed to be a real character (and a former Amboy Duke, although he did not record with them), and guitarist Robert Gillespie (at the time fresh from ex-MC5 singer Rob Tyner's band), along with a crack rhythm section, cranked out tunes in the mold of the Heartbreakers (Johnny Thunders, not Tom Petty) and the Rolling Stones. The music is pure rock & roll with great hooks, and the band makes no attempt to be anything they're not. This disc consists of all seven of the band's studio tracks, originally released as a single and an EP, along with ten more live tracks. The studio stuff is wonderful. The opener, the band's classic "Pop Star" (about Thunders), is instantly memorable. Does it break any new ground? No, but who cares when you're walking around humming the song? "Down in Chinatown" and "Checkin' Out" are also hook-laden singalongs. Of the studio tracks, only "Rude Boy" falls short. It's a basic ska thing, not offensive, but other than the guitar playing (Gillespie is consistently on the money throughout the disc, without overplaying), there isn't much to recommend it in the era of the Beat and the Specials. The live tracks were culled from three gigs and sound great. Five of the songs are repeats from the studio stuff and five are not. The live stuff is a cool bonus, but it's really the studio material that makes this disc. The Torpedos never really made it out of Detroit, but "Pop Star" got them recognition with the worldwide Detroit rock scene. This album gives good insight into what might have been had fate been a bit different. This ain't punk, new wave, disco, or any genre that was happening back in the late '70s/early '80s. It's a rock & roll record.
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AllMusic Review by Geoff Ginsberg