Armagideon Time

There are some record purchases which require a bit of context to explain.

Can’t Stand The Rezillos is not one of them.

I can outline the process that led to the purchase of this 1978 punk-pop classic with absolute certainty, though I may not recall the actual moment:

1. I was thinking of Most Favored Albums I never owned on vinyl.

2. Can’t Stand The Rezillos came to mind, followed by “of course, how could I forget that one?”

3. I ordered a copy.

I lucked upon the CD reissue of the album (which appended most of the band’s live follow-up release) at the late, lamented Disc Diggers in Davis Square towards the end of 1993. Even though I’d begun my slow drift away from punk into more gothy and new wave shit, it rocketed to the top of my favorites pile. The Scottish outfit’s cartoony take on punk rock and their shameless embrace of Sixties technicolor trash was welcome blast of fresh air compared to the dour anarchopunk dirges and thuggish Oi chants that soundtracked my late-phase punk period.

The Rezillos were goofy, trashy, and wild — owing as much to Screaming Lord Sutch as the Sex Pistols — and they had the musical chops to realize that vision beyond the ephemeral piss-take of a novelty act. Can’t Stand The Rezillos is a goddamn treasure trove of boot-stomping originals and revved up Sixties covers, the delivery split between Eugene Reynolds’ ferocious rasp and Fay Fife’s thick Scottish accent.

“Flying Saucer Attack,” “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight,” “Top of the Pops,” “Can’t Stand My Baby,” “Glad All Over,” “(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures” — you’d be hard-pressed to find a Class of ’77 punk album (outside of the first Clash LP and Germfree Adolescents by X-Ray Spex) with such a all killer/no filler density of tracks.

If the Rezillos were a joke, it was a gag that has aged better than most of their more serious contemporaries.

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