The quintessential Clash album,
This review is from: Give 'Em Enough Rope (Audio CD)This was, as the review title suggests, the quintessential Clash album. The self named debut, though good in its own right, owed much to the punk movement itself. The one that followed this 'London Calling' was an experimentation of musical styles (albeit a very successful experimentation) and only on 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' did the Clash truely express who they were as a band. On this we witnessed the synergy between the late great Joe Strummer and Mick Jones; it was a partnership of true chemistry producing some of the best rock 'n' roll ever recorded.
This was released in November 1978, and the British music press - who generally considered The Clash to be the best of the breed - afforded it more review space than any other album I can remember. It had seemed like an age since the band's debut, (released in April 1977) and by the time this was out their musical vision had matured considerably. Every track is pure gold and the album as a whole is easy to listen to without being easy, if you know what I mean. There are long forgotten moments of greatness on Rope, like the way Joe's voice keeps in time with that prominant bass beat on 'Last Gang in Town' (best track). I admit there is a streak of naivety on tracks like 'Julie's in the Drug Sqaud', (Julie's been working for the drug squad) about a 1976 police operation that busted a major drug ring, and 'Drug Stabbing Time'. It wasn't a big deal for me in 1978 when I was 17, but unfortunately I'm not anymore. I'd still give them a pass for it; the world was a different place then, and with the benefit of hindsight we would all say different things.
What I love most about this band is that Joe Strummer never tried to blind us with poetry, nobody needed to debate the meaning of his words. Mick Jones just wanted to be true to his own instincts, he refused to mindlessly follow the punk format forever, that's why the Clash were one of the few 'punk' bands to survive 1977. As soon as Mick and Joe disolved their partnership the Clash fizzled out. Nothing truely great lasts forever.
"Face front, you got the future shinning like a piece of gold, but I swear as we get closer it looks more like a piece of coal. But it's better than some factory, now that's no place to spend your youth; I worked there for a week once, I luckily got the boot".
All The Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts)