When I first heard this album, I was a little dissapointed. I liked some tracks, but Ain't It Strange, Distant Fingers, Radio Ethiopia/Abyssina were all terrible, or at least that is what I thought to begin with. Unlike Horses, which I instantly liked, Radio Ethiopia, while still not as good, becomes more an more of a classic with each time I hear it.
Ask The Angels is a nice rock track and astonishing opener, it is followed by Ain't It Strange? with its plodding, reggee inspired beat. While this has grown on me, I think Redondo Beach worked a lot better. Poppies also has a reggee influence, but it works better and features some of Patti's talk/singing, which I really love.
Pissing In A River is a piano centred ballad and I like how the vulgar title is in complete contrast to the wonderful beauty of the song itself. It is probably my favourite on the record. I would say that Pumping (My Heart) is the most commercial effort on the record, but that doesn't make it an awful song. Distant Fingers was another track that took a couple of listens first, but now it ranks among my favourites.
Radio Ethiopia is a mixed bag and I probably will only ever listen to it if I am listening to the album as a whole, the same goes for Abysinna. I think the first half of Radio Ethiopia is really good but the outro/intro into Abysinna could have been shortened. Still, I think it really demonstrates how the band aren't willing to compromise and proves why Patti was so influential to punk. As she said in an interview: "In Radio Ethiopia I play guitar. I don't even know how to play guitar but I just get into perfect rythm and play." She has the punk attitude and I think that this demands respect for Radio Ethiopia/Abysinna, whether you like the pieces themselves or not.