Saturday, April 29, 2017

Song(s) of the Day # 1,196 Generation X

Generation X are a strange proposition. Of all the first line of British punk bands they're the ones who sound least punk and the ones most informed by the immediate past. 1977 is clearly no year zero for them. Nevertheless, listening to their second album Valley of the Dolls forty years on they certainly knew how to craft a song. Songs informed with rock and roll cliche perhaps, the influence of Ian Hunter being their most obvious forbear. That would make sense as he after all produces this record.

So if there are some guitar sounds searing on the record which you would have thought might have been verboten in the climate of the time, (listen to Paradise West), you can understand why the likes of Bobby Gillespie rated them. This is a great lost pop guitar album, full of football terrace choruses, rock and roll and glam, not obviously angry about anything but seeing its opportunity and intent on selling as many records as it could.

They didn't really go where they wanted at the time. Perhaps they weren't punk enough for the inner circle, (in fact they were widely despised as tennybop fodder) and too punk for the wider market. Billy Idol got there in the end, the one of the original Bromley Contingent, in fact the whole London punk scene who became a genuine star in the States. Bassist Brian James meanwhile regrouped with Sigue Sigue Sputnik and had another shot at over-hyped fame in the mid-eighties

But the original records sound great now. Cliche ridden punch the sky anthems, never full throttle like The Clash, where James' early seventies mate Mick Jones ended up, closer to the pop camp and still flicking through their record collections but fun! A memory as much of the growing pains of the early seventies as the punk wars of the late decade.

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