The Adicts: Sound of Music

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The Adicts

Sound of Music
Razor Recordings, 1982
Reissue, 2006

The Adicts, for the uninitiated, are, among other things, one of the most chronically under-appreciated bands of the early punk era, the band responsible for incorporating the droog look of Alex DeLarge's gang in Kubrick's stylized vision of Burgess's A Clockwork Orange into punk fashion (see also: "Clockie"), regular guests on British children's programming, and one of the most consistently entertaining live acts in existence.

Unlike Kiss, a band whose theatrics often mask relatively mediocre music, the Adicts' clownish appearance reflects and even enhances the group's lighthearted sound. Rather like the fifties' B-Movie kitsch championed by the Cramps or the pseudo-demonic trappings of the Misfits, the Adicts' look is a perfect fit for the music. Indeed, the confetti-tossing, playing card-flipping, cane-toting, troupe of mime-lookalikes always seem to be having about as much fun playing their songs as fans do when hearing them.

And, really, shouldn't we get to the music already?

Sound of Music, the 1982 follow-up to the previous year's debut, Songs of Praise, contains several of the Adicts' best-known songs. Including "Easy Way Out" (taken from the band's first-ever release, 1979's 7" EP Lunch With the Adicts), the oft-anthologized "Joker in the Pack" and "Chinese Takeaway," as well as the radio-friendly "Jonny Was A Soldier," Sound of Music could almost be repackaged as a greatest hits collection. In fact, no fewer than eight of the sixteen tracks on the reissued disk appear on the band's most recent compilation, 2005's Made in England.

From the Merry-Go-Round music with which the band introduces "How Sad" to the sublimely mellow (if a bit 80s synth rock-sounding) cover of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" closing the album, Sound of Music is essentially a flawless disk. Backed by Pete Dee Davidson's extremely melodic, hook-laden guitars, Spider's jouncing bass lines, and Kid Davidson's tight skin-pounding, Monkey has little trouble making every song on the record a singalong.

Highlights:

Track 1. "How Sad." An immediately catchy, even danceable gem of 77-style Britpunk.

Track 2. "4-3-2-1." See above.

Track 3. "Chinese Takeaway." A silly (yet somehow endearing) tale of a hungry bloke's long search for "the right shop . . . to stop [his] hunger." You won't stop whistling this for days.

Track 4. "Jonny Was A Soldier." Sirius's Punk channel, may it rest in peace, played this song constantly. And for good reason. It's a damn good representation of the band's sound.

Track 7. "Joker in the Pack." This could very easily be the Adicts' theme song.

Track 8. "Lullaby." My favorite Adicts tune, by far. A bit faster than many of the band's songs, it's got a killer rhythm and as catchy a chorus as the most beer-sloshingly anthemic oi! song.

Track 16. "I Wanna Be Sedated." Covering the Ramones is never a good idea. I mean, we're not talking about shitty Quiet Riot covering shitty Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize" here. The un-criticizable Ramones already did the best possible version of the song. But, damn, the Adicts did a beautiful job converting the Ramones' pure wall-of-sound pop-punk into something uncannily close to being an original song.

Sobriquet Grade: 93 (A).

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This page contains a single entry by Sobriquet Magazine published on December 4, 2008 1:19 AM.

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