Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
In case of emergency
on 21 April 2012
Being something of a punk/new wave completist, I thought I'd take advantage of this cheap two album package. I remembered a few of 999's songs and had a couple of live tracks on the superb Hope & Anchor Festival double set. These were 'Crazy', which was quite good and 'Quite Disappointing', which was quite disappointing.
Nick Cash had been part of Kilburn & The High Roads, a striking collection of characters who recorded an album shortly before The Sex Pistols rode into town. Cash, possibly impatient to move out of Ian Dury's shadow, formed his own band. 999 certainly had their chances: they had a reasonably high profile, but their records met largely with critical dismissal or indifference. They just weren't as good or as distinct, in my opinion, as the bands who made it. About half of the music here consists of three-minute adrenaline rush offerings similar to what The Boys and The Vibrators, who I prefer, recorded and is much of a muchness. The best songs are more in the vein of beaty guitar pop, all of it backing Cash's waspish vocals.
Highlights are the aforementioned 'Crazy', which is a sub Chuck Berry number, 'Emergency', the superb 'Homicide' and the ska-tinged 'Feelin' Alright With The Crew'. It isn't a bad package, but next to what else is on offer from the late 1970s, it sounds ordinary.