Most of this documentary soundtrack is the antithesis of bloated 1970s arena rock. The record is subtitled "A Music War." But the British bands that dominate the album were battling the social and economic woes of the U.K. as much as rebelling against the commerciality and smugness in popular rock music emanating from the States. The lineup features a smorgasbord of cutting-edge new wave bands in hot live outings in the U.K. and U.S. While much of the music is period-dated, the performances are heartfelt and hold up surprisingly well. Alternative rock must always be in style, after all, or rock itself is finished. Most of the better-known bands on the album are American -- Devo, Joan Jett and the out-of-place Go-Gos. Fellow Americans the Cramps and X join their English counterparts 999, John Otway and others with runaway-train performances. XTC damns suburban conformity with "Respectable Street," capturing as well as anyone here the spirit of the new wave/punk movement. There are too many highlights to list them all.
AllMusic Review by Mark Allan