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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Vibrators

Greatest Punk Hits

Review by Gary Hill

This collection of songs from The Vibrators is pretty cool. There’s only one tune here that I think doesn’t work all that well, and even that is pretty great in the second half. There is a little bit of a monotony to some of this here. I mean, punk rock can be limited. It’s kind of a testament to the talent of these guys that it manages to stay fresh for the majority of the set. There is one error on the back cover of the disc with a tune listed several songs later than the position at which it actually appears. I’ve noted that in my track by track review, though. Also, there are a few songs here I’ve reviewed on their original album. For the sake of consistency, I’ve copied or modified my song reviews from those.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
London Girls

Energized and fun, this is more rock and roll than a lot of punk rock is. It’s sort of like the Ramones, but with more of an open, trebly rock and roll sound to it. 

Whips and Furs
This an energized punk tune.  I love the bass line on this and the vocal hooks are cool, too.
Baby Baby
This number is very much like The Ramones.
Sweet Sweet Heart
This is an awesome tune. It’s very high energy. It’s got some great guitar sounds.
Automatic Lover
Take the sounds of the previous tunes and blend in some Clash and you’ll be in the neighborhood of this tune. It’s an energized and angry tune.
Troops of Tomorrow
The CD cover lists this song as two tracks later. But, here it is. Atmospheric elements open this. As it builds out from there this really feels like some kind of 1960s psychedelic track. Eventually an almost metal vibe takes over. The distorted, vocals, though, bring this closer to hardcore punk. This is one of the best pieces here. It’s fuzzy and fun.
Judy Says (Knock You in the Head)
 This is not the right place for this, based on the track listings on the disc. More raw punk in nature, there is definitely a Clash vibe here.
Disco in Mosco
This is another song whose position is messed up on the sleeve. I love the heavy groove to this. The Clash is a valid reference here, too. Somehow there is a bit of space rock element to this, too.
Flying Home
The final “out of place” tune, this is less a punk rock tune and more a modern hard rock number. It’s a cool one and a nice change.
Amphetamine Blue
Old rock and roll with a bit of a punk vibe, this is another energetic cut.
Rip up the City
Somehow this makes me think of early Rolling Stones with a bit of The Clash in the mix.
Every Day I Die a Little
A ballad style opens this and the cut evolves from there. I dig the guitar solos on this. Although I don’t think the song works all that well, the variety it provides is definitely needed. When it turns out to a harder rocking version of itself, though, then it really kicks. The second guitar solo somehow makes me think of “Stairway to Heaven” a bit.
Wonderful World
A noisy guitar serves as the only backdrop for the first vocals. After a verse some other elements are added to the mix. Then after another verse we get a more full arrangement. This is another that makes me think of The Stones, but with a more punk sound. There is a saxophone solo later as a nice touch.
Tired of Living with You
This is more of the punk rock meets old school rock and roll type of song. It’s not a bad one, but also not all that special. Somehow I pick up a Lou Reed element at times here.
The Kid's a Mess
Much more high energy punk rock, this one is much better.
Your Love Is Fading Away
This is a real rocking tune. It’s another where I can hear some Lou Reed. It’s got a lot of rock and roll and punk both built into it.
Under the Radar
Radar sounds open this. Then the drums join, followed by the guitar. It’s got a great retro vibe to that guitar introduction. It becomes more of a spoken punk rock tune after that.
 
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