Where's Captain Kirk?: The Very Best of Spizz

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Many of these 20 tracks also appear on Spizz Not Dead: 1978-88 Decade of Spizz History, which is also on Cherry Red. Thus it's not clear exactly why this compilation is also necessary; it does take in a couple of cuts dated 1996 in the track listing, but those are probably their least-sought-after items. Still, there's not a whole lot of difference between the two, and this does an adequate job of covering Spizz's haphazard career on releases billed to Spizz Energi, Athletico Spizz 80, Spizz Energi 2, Spizzoil, and, of course, Spizz (though in fact just one song is credited to Spizz rather than another billing). Just four of these selections postdate 1982, in case you're worried whether these are loaded up with obscure comeback projects. Though not talked about much even among critics, whatever name he was recording under, Spizz made respectably quirky turn-of-the-decade punk/new wave. His tense, oft-howling vocals were often tethered to reasonably catchy if basic riffs; his lyrics were fairly eclectic, though often grounded in the era's usual despairing irony and energetic absurdity; and he put in odd stylistic ticks, like the lonesome, folky busking that starts "Spock's Missing," the dreary orchestration at the beginning of "No Room," and the science-fiction soundtrack mood of "Red & Black" and "Rhythm Inside." The documentation could be better, even though there are brief liner notes and a discography; it's not clear, for instance, where the (unimpressive) disco-ish 1988 track "On My Own" was first released. The 20th song is actually an enhanced-video track of Spizz Energi playing "Where's Captain Kirk?" at the Holiday in the Sun punk festival.

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