Title: The Island Years
If you ever see one of those TV documentaries on the history of punk you’re bound to have experienced a brief introduction on the range of pub rock bands that laid the foundation. Groups like Ducks Deluxe, Brinsley Schwarz and Kilburn and the High Roads reigned supreme during their brief moment in the beer soaked sun. Within this movement, you also had a range of bands who seemed to infuse the genre with ambition and looked beyond, detaching themselves from that collection, almost reaching out but possibly not quite entering the punk fold. Dr Feelgood was one such outfit, Eddie & The Hot Rods was another.
This new Eddie & The Hot Rods multi-CD box set offers good value for money. I decided to look closer at one particular LP within, Teenage Depression. Just to get a feel for the set as a whole. Released in 1976, the music packing these grooves is decidedly loud and wholly disrespectful, it offers high energy, rage and frustration and is a testament to youth and youth culture of the moment. As a project, it even connected strands of earlier youth movements with its inclusion of a few covers: Pete Townshend’s The Kids Are Alright (a live cut), Joe Tex’s Show Me and a frantic version of Sam Cooke’s Shake. The essence of the covers was to link the 60s’ ethic with contemporary punk.
The LP was released before much of the classic punk output hit the streets. It provided a call to arms and a sense of what was on the horizon.
This album can be found in a new clamshell-type box set that covers the band’s Island years. The set also features Thriller (1977), Life on the Line (1977) plus BBC sessions, In Concert disc and Rods Fan Club LP. It’s a brilliant collection and is packed with value.
For a ‘mere’ value pack, in audiophile terms, I was impressed by the structured 3D soundstage from all of the Eddie & The Hot Rods CDs. On Teenage Depression, for example, I was happy to hear that the drum roll on the first track was decidedly placed way back, at the rear of the soundstage, before the guitars began front left and right. Mastering for the set is good with a relatively low noise application providing a spacious, airy feel to the midrange with a well behaved bass that never swamps or blooms. A sublime box of noise, then.
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