❉ Anyone that appreciates pop-punk will find plenty to enjoy in this retrospective of a band who always did their own thing.
Ipswich isn’t a town famous for its musical output, but The Adicts have managed to make something of a mark on the music scene over the last 43 years. Forming in 1975 as “Afterbirth & the Pinz”, the band managed to skirt the lower reaches of the charts whilst at the same time building up a strong following with their exciting and theatrical live shows. Occupying the poppier end of the punk spectrum, this 5-disc release covers their recording career from 1982-87.
This release skips the band’s 1981 debut Songs of Praise, and Disc 1 contains 1982’s Sound of Music, a great album containing such classic tracks as Chinese Takeaway and Joker In The Pack. These are fun, upbeat tunes, and having not listened to the band much in the past, sounded very fresh to these ears.
Keep in mind that the direction of punk had become more heavy by 1982, and this would have sounded very different to the likes of G.B.H and The Exploited, some of the scene’s most popular bands at the time. The Adicts always did their own thing.
1985’s Smart Alex is on Disc 2, and we get more of the same, without the standard dropping.
For me the standout track here is the glam-tastic Bad Boy (which could easily have been a Gary Glitter hit), and remarkably got them onto TV’s Cheggers Plays Pop at the time of its release as a single.
Anyone that appreciates pop-punk will find plenty here to enjoy, as the band continue to cement their legacy.
The third disc gives us 1986’s Fifth Overture and marks something of a musical departure for the band. Now with added keyboard, they embraced a much more ’80s sound, which would have no doubt alienated much of the band’s hardcore fanbase, and contributed to the band’s period of inactivity.
Ironically, the change of style on this later release makes it sound more dated than the earlier releases. That’s not to say there aren’t some good songs on here, but it’s just too different and smacks of a band desperately craving commercial success. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
Disc 4 is called Rarities and gives us a collection of singles, B-sides, and alternative versions of some of the album tracks. Some of the versions here are the superior cuts so there are some gems on here, such as the original single version of Viva La Revolution, possibly the band’s magnum opus.
The fifth and final disc contains Live and Loud!!, an early live recording of the band from 1981. Unsurprisingly this isn’t a slick and polished recording, but it certainly captures the energy and intensity of the band’s live performances, which often doesn’t come through on the studio recordings. It’s something of a low-fi production, but it has a certain charm and is well worth a listen.
To sum up, The Adicts are a band I’ve seen live several times, and always thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t think of another punk band who place quite as much emphasis on showmanship and spectacle. Lead singer Monkey has a unique image with his painted face, bowler hats, and colourful outfits. The rest of the band went for the classic Clockwork Orange look, and although they weren’t the only band to adopt this image, I believe they may have been the first. I hadn’t really listened to the band’s records but I’m glad I did now, as there’s far more to this band than just the glitter, beach balls, and confetti. This is a worthy release and any fan of the band would be happy to have this in their collection. Catch a live show if you can – it really is something special.
❉ ‘The Adicts: The Albums 1982 – 87′ (Captain Oi! AHOYBX361) is out now from Cherry Red Records, RRP £21.99
❉ Brad Shepherd is a regular contributor to We Are Cult and is the frontman of punk band Monkish. Their debut album, “You Can’t Polish a Turd” was released in 2011, and the new album “Quorn is Murder” is out now: https://monkish.bandcamp.com/