Newtown Neurotics

The Punk Singles Collection

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Considering that this trio split up over a decade ago, it's nice that each year brings another retrospective, and another opportunity to praise one of the most valiant, affecting, provoking, and downright great bands ever to be even remotely affiliated with the word "punk." In fact, if all so-called punk bands had this group's wit, intelligence, humor, mod/soul influences, and -- most of all -- burning passion and commitment, no one would ever associate the genre with anything but these valorous qualities. Bandleader Steve Drewett remains the sort of singer/songwriter who makes one want to get off one's sofa and start challenging things and making a difference in this world. One of the most profound anti-apathy people to ever pick up a guitar, this socialist/humanist painted realistic portraits of working-class Britain alongside fiery thunderings on the country's Jurassic laws that shut all the pubs at 11 p.m. all week ("Licensing Hours") and compassionate looks at romantic frustrations and raising a family on little money ("The Mind of Valerie"). Occasionally, rock & roll has stood for getting involved and doing something, the most important positive things, instead of brainless hedonism and rampant egotism. The Neurotics' three LPs were one of those times, and it's here in vivid color, in A- and B-sides. Note: This release is slightly redundant. The concept, track listing, and playing order are virtually identical to 45 Revolutions Per Minute: Complete Singles Collection '79-'88, released by England's Jungle Records a mere three years prior. Differences: This misses the rare tracks "I Get on Your Nerves," "I Need You," and the totally inspiring "Andy Is a Corporatist," but adds three tracks from the Blitzkrieg Bop single and the seven superb live versions that formed the B-sides of the group's final two singles.

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