A horrible hack


The Best of Fried Egg Records: Bristol 1979-1980

Year Released: 2009
Format: CD
Label: Bristol Archive Records
Reviewed by Tony on Apr 1, 2010
The slightest mention of the city of Bristol brings to mind Disorder, Chaos UK and Amebix. Container-diving rotten glue-sniffing squatter punks with criminal records and drug problems that would change the direction of hardcore punk forever. But this compilation is not about noisy distortion-to-deafness; it is about post-punk. First out is Shoes For Industry who play some sort of post-punk that brings to mind the Fall, but with a vocalist that sounds more like Jaz from Killing Joke. Shoes For Industry must have been some sort of big-shot band in Bristol for they have three songs on this compilation. The second is called Invasion of the French Boyfriends and it is kind of funny for that reason. This band closes the compilation with a song called Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon which sounds exactly how you imagine it sounds like– a sort of Clash plays dub jokey mix-up. That Pete Brandt's Method was an ambitious arty band is clear from the band name. They’re more towards the funky end of post-punk new wave –at best it’s Minutemen minus the stuff that made them so liked by the hardcore crowd, at worst it makes me think of a mainstream retro-disco-indie band from the 2000s. Art Objects are more to my liking because the singer sounds a bit more punk and I hear lines about nuclear weapons, mainstream media, dissent and governments. Musically, Art Objects brings to mind, perhaps, bands like fIREHOUSE. On Art Object’s second song there’s razor sharp guitar sounds in the background mix of what is otherwise a bass-driven dreamy post-punk song with spoken words that at a stretch could be compared with what in years hence was a typical anarcho-punk gimmick. Pretty cool. Originally named band Various Artists’s first song on this compilation is a sweet romantic melodic pop ballad (Original Mixed-Up Kid) that makes me think I really need to get hold of some Eight Dayz records, but Various Artists are straight indie pop. The other Various Artists song is melodic and is sadly going for some sort of ska “jamming”. Ugh! Someone turn off the radio? Perhaps this was dangerous or even hip in 1979? In 2010 it is foul and stale. The third Various Artists song is largely a cappella with some electro shit in background that slowly builds and promises something but comes to nothing. Must be an artistic statement. Various Artists make me think about some sort of pretentious art student indie band inspired by Radiohead, so it’s difficult understand that this is from before 1980. Exploding Seagulls play upbeat elektro new wave that’s actually not too bad, vocalist makes me think of Desperate Bicycles. Standard-issue 77-punk rockers Wild Beasts would today be considered pop punk or perhaps indie pop. Quite enjoyable song, but for a cynic like me it sounds like a song a US record label manufactured US “punk” band could cover and use for a Hollywood teenage-love movie soundtrack. The Fans sound a bit like the Ramones but more directly influenced by 60’s England Invasion retro pop. The result is totally Killed By Death (KBD) fodder and I would not be surprised if this band is on one of those bootleg compilations. But on the second The Fans song they sound like Libertines. Ouch. The Stingrays makes me think of the Police, hell the singer even sound like Sting. It gets a little better when they’re not going for a reggae style instead like sounding indie pop shit. But I’ll just refer you to Moderat Likvidation’s song “White Rastas”. But shockingly, on the second Stingrays song they’re a new wave glam band and that rock n roll song there’s even some noisy parts on top that reminds me of that “melody meets noise” mix that Jesus & Mary Chain made into their own. The Untouchables play bluesy pub rock and I like it. Reminds of Slade –shit, must be 10s of years since I last listened to fucking Slade!? Electric Guitars seem inspired by Joy Division, with a tiny drop of Killing Joke in there as well, an impression cemented by listening to their second song. But on their third and final song on the CD they sound like a later DEVO. Perhaps they were really into Kraftwerk? Either way I like this shit. From the outset when you hear the Viceroys you’ll be sure of yourself that they listened a lot to Velvet Underground and Joy Division (but were probably too straight for Suicide). Actually their song ‘Angels In The Rain’ starts out like those bands but then develops into a sort of pub rock almost ballad. The bottom line? I’ll stick with Disorder. But for those that like grassroots post-punk, indie pop and new wave then this will be a definite addition. I am sure there is also something to be said about history, availability of rare bands and such, but that’s for collectors and they already have this.

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