Cock Sparrer Shock Troops LP

After hearing the first three cuts on Side A, with their punchy mid-tempo attack, melodic high-powered guitars, and uplifting choruses, I was on the verge of raving about the survival of COCK SPARRER in top form. But despite the greatness of those songs (one of which—”Where Are They Now”—is a blistering critique of the punks of ’77), and one interesting track with a pronounced KINKS-ish feel (“Out on an Island”), the rest of the album slides into more pedestrian rock ’n’ rolly material.

Newtown Neurotics Blitzkrieg Bop EP

The NEWTOWN NEUROTICS’ command of melodic ’77-style punk is reconfirmed with this single. They cover the RAMONES’ classic, but add explicitly anti-war lyrics in an effort to increase its salience as ’80s political punk; the change works, though the vocals aren’t as affecting as Joey Ramone’s. On the flipside, they reprise the splendid song from their debut single, “Hypocrite.”

Red London Sten Guns in Sunderland EP

RED LONDON plays older-style melodic punk that sounds better by virtue of its relative rarity today. The guitars have a clean ’60s tone (courtesy of Attila?), but ultimately the material fails to impress itself on your consciousness. Decent lyrics, though.

Splodgenessabounds Mouth and Trousers / In Search of the Seven Golden Gussetts 7″

“Mouth” is one of SPLODGE’s typical novelties, in this case a goofy ska song with absurd lyrics. The B-side retains the goofy lyrics, but shifts into a fast funnypunk gear. Entertaining as usual.

Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades 13 Hits and More cassette

We received three tapes simultaneously from these guys, two of which were released last year. This one, though, is typical of their sound, which is driving, melodic punk done at a rapid-fire pace—it’s really tight and catchy. Lyrics are sort of in a sicko BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN mold. Professional sound.

Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades It’s a Bogus Life EP

Another great Florida garage punk band. I don’t know if this breed of trashiness and psychosis is a by-product of the heat and humidity down there, but for some reason that state produces a lot of entertaining outfits with semi-retarded lyrics. These guys sound more than a little like the ANGRY SAMOANS, which is the highest sort of compliment.

The Adicts Chinese Takeaway EP

A letdown. The ADICTS’ newest funnypunk release is neither as funny nor as punky as their earlier efforts. The band is clearly capable of making entertaining music, but on this EP inferior material and overly clean production result in yawns rather than laughs. That doesn’t bode well for their new album.

The Adicts The Sound of Music LP

A fabulous cover design on the ADICTS’ second album doesn’t help an affable, yet insignificant, collection of pop-rock ditties reminiscent of a cross between the early ADICTS and ADAM & THE ANTS. The single (“Chinese Takeaway”) is catchy enough but most of the songs have a cloying style and no thematic depth or personality. It’s OK for parties, I suppose.

The Adicts Bad Boy / Shake, Rattle, Bang Your Head 7″

“Bad Boy” is an incredibly boring CLASH-type “rock” song which is best ignored; the flip is a much faster pop-punk number with some sparkle to it. I still think the ADICTS are rapidly in decline, but it’s a bit too early to be certain.

The Gonads Delilah, the Punk Epic EP

The unmistakable Max Splodge touch adds a dimension of class to this third funnypunk single by the GONADS. “Lager Top” and “Sandra” are the kind of rowdy songs, complete with an abrasive guitar sound and Oi choruses, that make for great beer-time fun, if very little else. Gary Bushell’s presence here may be this EP’s biggest drawback.

The Sect The Voice of Reason LP

Ten mid-tempo pop-punk songs here, with melodic bratty vocals and a consistently pounding drum beat being a major force behind each song. Overall, there are a couple of hits here, but way more near misses, which might be due to the lack of catchy riffs and choruses. The potential is here (including good punk anthem lyrics), but it doesn’t come all together. Still, a very suitable release.