Anti-Nowhere League

Out of Control

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The Anti-Nowhere League were a band whose primary (if not only) virtue was their total lack of refinement -- at a time when British punk was either adapting itself to new musical forms or chasing its tail as groups like the Exploited and the U.K. Subs rose to prominence, the Anti-Nowhere League were willing, able, and eager to be cruder, dirtier, and stupider than anyone else around, and their freak hit "So What" was a logical extension of their ability to sink lower in the name of entertainment than any of their peers. But sometimes you have to work at being offensive, and Out of Control is a collection of ANWL demos which predate their first album and suggest that at this point, the group hadn't quite mastered the fine art of being revolting. Which is not to say they weren't trying -- the League already had stump-dumb punk tunes like "Landlord Is a Wanker," "Fat Bastards," and "Useless Bastards" that sound more like parody than actual punk rock, and "Top of the Pops," in which we're repeatedly told "You got to be queer to be on Top of the Pops," practically defines Spinal Tap's edict of the fine line between stupid and clever. But lead singer Animal was still learning his craft at this point and doesn't sound very impressive as his voice occasionally bobs to the surface of the muddy mix, and the music is just punk by numbers, so plain, faceless, and undistinguished it makes the Ramones sound baroque. The Anti-Nowhere League's debut album We Are...The League qualifies as a guilty pleasure, but Out of Control never rises to that lofty height.

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