The Physicals

Skulduggery

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After the Maniacs' nonstop punk ran its course, guitarist Alan Lee Shaw's Physicals adopted a more glam stance, at least on their All Sexed Up EP. The storming "Breakdown on Stage" sets the tone by saluting the New York Dolls -- in words, and riffs -- while Shaw indulges some choice Thunders-style plectrum swipes on the slower, yet equally intense "You Do Me In." But there's more to the story on this compilation, whose finest hour is "Be Like Me," a thunderous, anthemic slice of punk boosted by former Sex Pistol Paul Cook's production and drumming involvement. (Incredibly, "Be Like Me" and its B-side, "Pain in Love," sat unreleased for a year after the original session, until Big Beat finally issued both songs in 1980.) Eleven of the 17 tracks here are unreleased, which is a shame; they're prime slices of '70s second-wave melodic punk. Highlights include the Iggy Pop-ish drive of "I Got a Feeling" and "Crying in the Alley"; the stinging "Time's Up"; and "Engine of Romance," which features a great sax solo. Taut versions of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" and Shaw's fist-in the-air rocker "Should Have Been You" flash tantalizing glimmers of the band's live prowess, while covers of the '60s garage nuggets "Get Me to the World on Time" and the Music Machine's "Talk Talk" inject some fun into the proceedings. Although the Physicals never rose above their parochial obscurity -- their career highlight was an Irish tour supporting heavy metal kings Thin Lizzy -- this effort remains a must-own glimpse of a lost band's unfulfilled potential.

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