As punk fell into the broader waters of the new wave and the likes of the B-52's, Devo, and so on arose forth to surf the quirkier riptides and eddies, it was very easy to forget that much of what they were executing so gracefully had already been done, with equal elan, by a band from Scotland who never got the breaks they deserved. True, the Rezillos did score a character-building British hit, but "Top of the Pops" was never representative of the group's true glory, and their 1979 breakup and rebirth as the Revillos simply restated the gulf between what they could do (day-glo rockabilly with glitter punk overtones) and what the audience wanted them to do (sound like the Cramps). Splitting again in 1984, the Revillos bounced back in 1994 to cut a live album in Japan. Two years later they were in London for a reunion gig that, finally, shrugged off all the baggage that had encumbered them in the past and got down to the nitty-gritty of true Revillo-hood. And this, a warts-and-all rendering of the evening's entertainment, might just be the finest Revillos album of them all. Drawing its highlights from across both the Rezillos and the Revillos' back catalogs, Totally Alive mercifully omits the big hit albatross, but throws in a Fleetwood Mac cover regardless, their genre-redefining stomp through "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In." "Can't Stand My Baby" and "Good Sculptures," the original band's first and second singles, rub shoulders with "Motorbike Beat" and "Mindbending Cutie Doll," undisputed highlights of the Revillos' era, while the immortal "Flying Saucer Attack" effortlessly remedies its omission from both Live & on Fire in Japan and the Rezillos' Mission Accomplished...But the Beat Goes On live albums, in what may be its greatest version yet.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson