Vice Squad

Shot Away

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When Beki Bondage left Vice Squad just before the band were set to begin recording their third album, even the band's most loyal fans thought it was over for them. But guitarist Dave Bateman, bassist Mark Hambly, and drummer Shane Baldwin persevered, recruiting second guitarist Sooty and new vocalist Lia, and released the third Vice Squad album, Shot Away. Leaving their harder edges behind them, Vice Squad transformed themselves into a highly enjoyable pop-punk band with vocalist Lia sounding eerily similar to '80s pop songstress Mari Wilson (she of the gear beehive hairdo). Instead of the band following their early punk idols, they switched gears and decided to become the U.K.'s answer to Blondie. Just one listen to "New Blood," "Nowhere to Hide," or "Take It or Leave It" will convince the average listener that this was a pop band reborn. Baldwin's drum kit seemed to have been replaced by a shiny new electronic drum kit (dig those syndrum fills, baby!), while Bateman's power buzzsaw guitar chords had been replaced by power pop chords. And instead of taking the Sweet's "Teenage Rampage" and punking it down to a parody, they lift it up and nearly make it their own. While the punk crowd felt betrayed and deserted the band, the charts stopped paying attention to the Squad by 1985 and, unfortunately, the album failed. The band split up the following year. In hindsight, this is perhaps the most cohesive and well-produced album of their short career. Lia didn't really replace Beki Bondage in Vice Squad (who could?), but she certainly took them to a new plateau filled with endless possibilities. If this album had been successful, the band could've gone in any direction. It's a shame that listeners will never know what other surprises they had in store.

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