This collection of old-school punk bands playing their better-known tunes on-stage includes no liner notes suggesting when and where these performances were recorded, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out most of them were put to tape long after these bands had left their salad days behind. The opening cut sets the tone with a rendition of "Smash It Up" by the Damned that's dominated by jangly guitar and Farfisa organ and is noticeably slower than the original recording, cluing in any fans that this isn't the original lineup of the band, and there are more than a few similar tracks on this set. Jimmy Pursey's voice is just about shot on the take of "Borstal Breakout" featured here, Hugh Cornwell is clearly not singing this version of the Stranglers's "Something Better Change," and while Iggy Pop is obviously the vocalist on "I Got a Right," the guitar player doesn't sound like either James Williamson or Ron Asheton, meaning this isn't really Iggy & the Stooges. There are a few solid numbers on this set -- Ian Dury & the Blockheads groove gloriously on "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick," Alternative TV are superbly jagged on "Still Life," and the Adverts and Stiff Little Fingers are both in full ranting glory. But for the most part, Spiked! isn't about "Punk Rebellion" so much as "Punk Nostalgia," and on most of these selections, things sure ain't what they used to be.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming