Following unsuccessful attempts to replace original guitarist Ian Krahe, who died six months after the group's live debut, X reverted to the trio lineup of original members Stephan Lucas (lead vocals, guitar), Ian Rilen (bass, vocals), and Steve Cafiero (drums) for the recording of the band's debut album. At the helm was Australian rock guru Lobby Loyde, who oversaw the five-hour session. That the album only took that long to record is evidenced by the crude nature of the performances, but Aspirations is one example where such guerrilla-style studio tactics pay off. Punk rock had caught fire, establishing strongholds in England and America, and eventually reaching X's native Australia. Drawing on its predecessors for inspiration, this music is burning with a primal intensity that is vintage 1979. The group combines the revolution rock of the Clash, the bitter new wave of Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the mindless punkisms of the Ramones, and the no-future deadpan of the Sex Pistols. This punk collision could be a recipe for disaster, yet X somehow manages to walk the razor's edge while avoiding the collapse the band seems perpetually headed for. Rilen's basslines amount to a rollicking sludge which, along with the weighty pummel of Cafiero's attack, provides the stark underbelly for Lucas' desperate guitar shards. Krahe's guitar playing was, sadly, never documented on record, but it could hardly be rawer than this. Unfortunately, X didn't enter the studio again for another five years. Continued attempts to fill Krahe's vacancy also hindered X, meaning that the group probably never got the attention it deserved. This reissue from Amphetamine Reptile attempts to remedy that, taking listeners back to the music's heyday for an underrated punk gem.
AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush