Urban Kids: A Punk Rock Anthology

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Chelsea were a British punk band that seemed to fit stylistically somewhere between the socially conscious racket of the first wave of British punk (in the manner of the Clash and the Adverts) and the beer-fueled yob-centric street punk of later bands such as G.B.H. and the Exploited. There was always a sense of rabble-rousing purpose in Gene October's lyrics, long after dole-queue radicalism had fallen out of fashion, but the four-square punk stomp of his various backing bands over the years never boasted much in the way of invention or subtlety, and things don't get any more creative for the band over the course of the 32 tunes on this two-CD career-spanning anthology. Urban Kids: A Punk Rock Anthology does feature the band's most memorable tracks (including both sides of their greatest moment, the "Urban Kids"/"No Flowers" single, and their excellent debut recording, "Right to Work") and October is an admirably passionate frontman on each and every song. But while Chelsea undoubtedly meant well, Urban Kids unfortunately documents the career of a band destined to be second string almost from the start; this is as good an overview of Chelsea's career as one could hope for, but it reveals their limitations just as clearly as their strengths.

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