on 2 February 2013
To say that the original quartet only released one studio album, there are a bewildering array of versions on the market - with Amazon lumping all reviews together no matter which version is being reviewed! This review is for the 2012 DOUBLE CD DELUXE version, which is undoubtedly the best buy.
Why? Well, for starters it's remastered from the original master tapes. The sound is excellent with Rotten and the band blasting out of the speakers, unlike earlier so-called remastered, single CD, versions where everything sounds woolly and tinny. There's also a few studio recorded bonus B-sides that didn't make the original vinyl - 'No Feeling', 'Did You No Wrong', a cover of The Stooges' 'No Fun' and 'Satellite'. They are all brilliant, although 'No Fun' suddenly stops dead right at the end - er, a slight mastering fault?
There's a second CD with a full live concert from Stockholm and a few tracks from Penzance Winter Gardens as well!
Sound quality is of superior bootleg quality for Stockholm whilst it's less good for the three Cornwall tracks. The band are on blistering form for the Swedish concert with Rotten treating the very enthusiastic audience with his usual mock-withering contempt. It's an essential disc, thus making sense of buying this deluxe version even if you've got the original vinyl studio album - which I have!
As for the main studio album, well when it was originally released I was disappointed. I'd already bought all four singles and, like others, had become cynical about McLaren and Virgin's milking of the situation. Additionally, compared to the more left-field contemporaries - Suicide, Wayne County, Pere Ubu etc. - the Pistols seemed a bit 'old hat'; without Rotten's sneering lyrics the sound was essentially one of a beefy rock band. Over the years I've preferred the studio outtakes album, 'Spunk', BUT this deluxe version has made me change my mind - it all sounds so great now, so fresh and new. Yes, I've fallen back in love with it and can now understand what all the original fuss was about!!
Every single original track sounds awesome AND with this version you get a brilliant 24-page booklet. So, don't bother with the single CD, or the outrageous rip-off 4 CD package, get this the 2 CD deluxe version.
on 10 October 2012
Well, there's just so much to take in - it can't be done in one sitting, which is exactly what a Super Deluxe Box Set retailing at £100 should be.
First, the 100 page 12" x 12" 1977 diary. It seems strange to use the word "beauty" in relation to the Sex Pistols but 1977 The Bollocks Diaries is an item worthy of such an accolade. With its glossy presentation and many unseen pictures, posters etc, it is a joy to behold. In fact, I feel as though I need to wear cloth gloves when handling it, to avoid any finger prints. It belongs in the British Museum.
The fold out NMTB poster is lovely as well, as is the replica A&M God Save The Queen. Just think, Universal own A&M these days, so surely this is a GSTQ A&M original?!
The above, along with the reproduction NMTB stickers and copy of GSTQ hand written lyrics, makes it all highly desirable. But what of the music? This has to deliver if the box set really is as "Super" as it claims.
Firstly, Disc One: Never Mind The Bollocks. At last, a true re-mastering, and it shows. The album has always sounded like a Chieftain Tank, only now you can hear the mechanics in action as it roars into view. Try listening both with and without headphones - both are spectacular. The backing vocals benefit as well as the guitars and drum sound, with subtleties detectable like never before. Same goes for John's vocals. Submission and New York particularly caught my imagination.
It is important to remember that this is not a re-recording, nothing has been tampered with. What we have here is the best possible sound gleaned from the master tapes. It still sounds like NMTB should - and it is essential that it does. It's tempting to say it sounds "fresh, like it was recorded in 2012", but it has always sounded fresh. What is certain is that it will never sound better than it does here. This mastering will ensure it still sounds fresh in 3012.
Disc Two promised much, and proves the jewel in the crown. The 1977 B-sides start proceedings and have been given the same treatment as NMTB. No Feeling, the flip side of the junked A&M GSTQ does, at last, sounds like it should - it's never before been quite right on any outing - other than on the original A&M.
The Dave Goodman demos from January 1977 follow. Dave was known for tinkering with his demos. Lord knows why. They are punchy and direct, and feature some expert musicianship and inventiveness from Steve, Glen, and Paul, much of which was lost on previous "versions" of the demos. Once again, New York was a highlight for me. Proof positive that untouched original classics should not be messed with.
Disc Two cranks up yet another gear with the Chris Thomas demos and outtakes. Mind blowing stuff. Presented in chronological order of recording (EMI recorded In April now finishing with "Goodbye A&M"), this disc shows the band's use of the studio developing as they hone their sound to perfection. From the alternative vocal tracks of Did You No Wrong ("my wet head"), Seventeen ("tell me your secrets do") and Satellite, through the rough mixes on show, it's all terrific, and (with one exception) previously unreleased.
Did we ever think we would hear two new mixes of Holidays In The Sun, one a rough - but stunning - take, with the song clearly in an early stage of development? Same goes for Body. Oh my. The lyrics differ but are just as scary as the NMTB version; "it was killed for a minor fee". A band argument also follows the track!
The surprising thing is that the recordings are good enough to release as the Pistols debut LP. Most bands would have settled for this. Not the Pistols. Funny that. For a group not supposed to care - they did when it came to creating a musical legacy built to last. Forward thinking from the boys. Also nice to see the original song titles from the time of the demos retained: Unlimited Edition, No Future and Body - nice attention to detail.
Belsen Was A Gas has of course been made available online - so everyone has had an opinion. The main disappointment is the vocal track which is almost inaudible. Sid does a good job with his bass performance, following Steve note for note, almost. Anyway, there it is, make of it what you wish. It's certainly better to have it than not.
Basically Disc Two is a fan's dream. It's been in my CD player/iPod constantly and I love it. If you don't, I'm so sorry, nothing will be good enough. It's magical. Thank you Universal!
On Disc Three we have two soundboard recordings from summer `77, the ideal time to capture the band during such a turbulent year. Sid is at his peak in terms of performance, pounding away - it leads to a very compact sound. Although too rudimentary for the studio, it works in claustrophobic club surroundings; brutal, intense, and at times disconcerting. Wasn't that the Sex Pistols in 1977? The Trondheim show was previously available as part of the limited Kiss This box, back in 1992. A further 2 decades has passed since, so it makes a welcome return here.
One week later - 28th July - the band was captured in Stockholm. This recording brings back so many memories for old time bootleg collectors. Released incomplete many times over the years, here we have the full concert which includes No Feelings and No Fun, (both missing from the vinyl bootlegs). The gig serves as reminder that away from the mayhem back in the UK, the Sex Pistols could breathe and show what a tremendous live rock and roll band they were, notwithstanding Sid who doesn't let his band mates down.
Disc Four - the DVD. First up: the Riverboat Party footage in perfect condition. If it was an event taking place in recent times, the full show would have been recorded from multiple angles and so forth. But the filming we do have captures the spirit of the day, from the paranoia, the blistering performances in cramped confines, through to the Police bringing it all to an end. Doesn't it just show how loathed the band were at this time? Don't the Police overreact to a band playing music on a river? Perhaps that is what makes it all so encapsulating and poignant. Everything the Pistols stood for, and the threat they posed, is here in this film.
Also in perfect condition, is film of the Pistols in Stockholm. The six songs caught on film from 28th July have been around for decades in various Nth generation bootleg copies; New York & Seventeen have previously showed up as extras on the NMTB Classic albums DVD. Now we have it all together - it will forever remain the best filmed document of the Vicious line-up delivering the goods in 1977. Close-up - excitingly filmed - with great sound, it just had to be included in the box set.
A real treat are the three songs recorded at the Winter Gardens, Penzance, during the SPOTS tour. Again it's hard to fault the performance of the Pistols, it is epic stuff. By late '77 the audience were well and truly acting like Daily Mirror Punk Rockers, flicking endless V-signs at the camera. Much more importantly, the band is incredible. Again.
The newly compiled Holidays In The Sun video is expertly edited together from late '77 footage, making it an authentic addition to the established videos for GSTQ and Pretty Vacant. Watching this on TV with the sound turned up makes your hair stand on end. Another triumph.
Interestingly, the DVD disc also pulls together audio only interviews conducted during 1977. So why choose these particular interviews? The Heyday Interviews conducted by Judy Vermorel in August 1977 are important for many reasons. They were recorded to form the basis for Fred & Judy Vermorel's authorised book on the Sex Pistols, originally called simply Sex Pistols (Star Books 1978). It was the only biography put together during the band's short career, and consequently the questioning is not provocative, but seeks to delve beneath the surface for all the right reasons - to let us know the truth behind their story. The interviews with John, Steve, Paul and Sid, first saw the light of day back in 1980 as the unofficial Heyday cassette released on Factory records, and then in 2003 on CD via the Boutique Label, this time including the interview with Glen.
You may or may not have these, but either way, as part of the 1977 theme of the box set, it's nice to have them included. The famous BBC Radio 1, Rock On, December `77 John Tobler interview with John and Sid is here as well, and for the first time in a full, uncensored form. We can now consign the badly edited, butchered versions to the back of the cupboard, if not the bin. If you've never heard it, this review will remain spoiler free, just bear in mind that a month later the band was no more.
So, is it all worth it? When Universal took over the Pistols catalogue I feared a rehashing of everything the average fan, let alone the hardcore collector, would have in their possession, with a few novelty incentives thrown in.
Thank God, Universal have not taken the easy route, they've taken the hard one. The Pistols don't come cheap, and UMC have wisely invested a lot of resources into this project.
Mixing NMTB from the master tapes is what we've always wanted; now we have it. And it's bloody good. But it is the appearance of the genuinely unheard demos and mixes on Disc Two that lifts this collection into the stratosphere. The discovery of these tapes represents the Howard Carter / Valley of the Kings moment for Pistols fans. It won't happen again, just be glad it did. And enjoy it. Even the Dave Goodman '77 recordings sound fab now. The live audio and videos have been presented in the best possible condition; in as complete a form as is (now) known to exist. Let's not forget the new Holidays In The Sun video, another indication of Universal's commitment.
I've hardly touched on the lavish 100 page Bollocks Dairies, or the A&M single. These alone would make the package worthwhile.
What do you mean you are still undecided? For crying out loud, buy it and embrace it. Now.
Review by Phil Singleton [...]
My guitar-mad 16-year old son Sean recently arrived into our home with his pal Kaylen (who plays a mean Bass) and announced they're forming a band. With the Net, iTunes and my extensive music collection as reference material - both are fairly clued up musically. But even though they knew the name - neither had actually heard the 'real deal' on 1977 vinyl. So I dragged out my very VG copy of "Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols" (with Jamie Reid's iconic artwork) and slapped it on the turntable. By the time we actually got to Track 5 on Side 1 ("God Save The Queen") with Johnny Rotten snarling "No Future" like a deranged truant officer - the look on their faces was priceless - their respective jaws dropped to the floor like the dangling arms of an orang-utan.
Even now in 2014 - from a white-gloved safe distance of 37 years - the sheer shock and awe of The Sex Pistols debut album is unbelievable. Playing this thing side-to-side is as visceral as music gets. Unique and seriously dangerous to conformists - NMTB exerts an influence that probably can't be quantified and retains an affection that I think will never die (if anything it will only grow as the decades pass).
I know there has been other CD reissues - especially the gorgeous £100+ box set of 2013 - but for me this simple and direct 21st Anniversary Edition from 1998 in a book digipak with just the 12-track album does the job very nicely indeed. Here are the Vicious Disgraces, Anarchic Vacancies and Magisterial Snots...
Released 28 October 1998 in the UK (exactly 21 years after the original) - "Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols - 21st Anniversary Edition" on Virgin CDVP2086 (Barcode 724384665227) is remastered from the original analogue tapes (38:51 minutes) and spits out as follows:
1. Holiday In The Sun
3. No Feelings
5. God Save The Queen
7. Seventeen [Side 2]
8. Anarchy In The U.K.
10. Pretty Vacant
11. New York
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols" - released 28 October 1977 in the UK on Virgin V 2086 and in the USA in November 1977 on Warner Brothers BSK 3147. Original copies of the British album came with a 1-sided 7" single "Submission" and a rare foldout poster. Original issues of the vinyl album also famously listed only '11 tracks' on the rear sleeve when the record and label has 12 ("Submission" was omitted by mistake). That sleeve is pictured on the last page of the inner booklet while the version that lists "Submission" is on the rear of the digipak.
The 30-page attached booklet with the book sleeve is cleverly laid out - showing you the four different covers as they progressed including the Picture Disc of the album and the American copy which actually had an inner. With explanatory text beside the photos - there's withdrawn artwork, black and white snaps of Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Paul Cook and Steve Jones, Vivienne Westwood and Debbie in the "Sex" Shop, Richard Branson eating a snack on the Jubilee Boat Trip, a bemused kid with a poster in his hand and rack full of LPs behind him at the Notting Hill Gate Virgin Records shop on the day of release, a repro of a Promotional Sticker and Badge, a snap from the "Pretty Vacant" video shoot and even a centre colour spread (Pages 16 and 17) of the ultra-rare poster that came with original copies of the LP. It's been remastered from original analogue master tapes (doesn't say by who or where) and this sucker rocks.
NMTB opens with the killer riffage of "Holidays In The Sun". Oasis used an identikit tactic on their debut album "Definitely Maybe" with "Rock 'n' Roll Star" - and they largely pulled it off too (I remember hearing the song in Tower Records when they were still in Piccadilly Circus and thinking - it's the Pistols!) Following with "Bodies" and "No Feelings" - what hits you is the power of the remaster - its ballsy, in your face and taking no prisoners. I've always thought "Problems" is one of the greats on the record and the three singles make Kiss and Ted Nugent look like sissies - "Anarchy In The UK", "God Save The Queen" and "Pretty Vacant". I suppose it's a shame their three non-album B-sides weren't included as bonus tracks - but I personally dig the fact that the album is presented as is. By the time he finishes with the angry and bitter "EMI" and screams "GOODBYE! A&M!" - I'm ready to start again and can feel an unsightly pogo in the living room coming on. It's a bloody disgrace...
Will we ever see their likes again - or be so assaulted to the core - hear one album by one group that literally changed the world - I doubt it. With the withdrawn A&M 7" single of "God Save The Queen" now regularly clocking in at ten grand in auctions - you have to ask why it and The Sex Pistols warrant such rabid affection. I think it's the truth. The "God Save The Queen" single was famously banned by establishment - written out of its Number Two slot beneath Rod Stewart's "The First Cut Is The Deepest" Why did they hate it so much - fuelled by the tabloids who were having a field day with their "Filth and Fury" headlines? Because the snivelling little s***s feared it - that's why. The truth always scares the crap out of the controllers because it will make the 'morons' snap out of the stupor and they don't want that at all. Lyrics that made you think, wince, question...
"God Save The Queen" and its Daddy "Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols" was the last great stand of individualism. In fact I suspect the band's one true album will represent the same for my children's children - who will one day in the future dig out pater's old vinyl LP record or his natty reissue CD - and play them. And in their futuristic lunar-pad of a living room - they'll be stood there in genuine awe and wonder - with their jaws dropped open again...
on 31 August 2000
Britain in the 1970s was in the doldrums - for those enough old enough to remember there was mass unemployment, strikes, power cuts and high taxes - and the young people of Britain really didn't have much to look forward to. The rebellion of the 1950s and 70s had disappeared - rock n roll rebels replaced by "corporate" rock like Yes and Pink Floyd. The punk rock backlash of 1976-77 was just what was needed, not only for millions of disillusioned youngsters but for popular music in general. At the forefront uprising were the Sex Pistols - four angry young playing angry, loud and (for it's time) shocking rock music, their frustration and anger vented by snarling frontman Johnny Rotten. The Sex Pistols were the original and best punk rock group, swearing on early evening television (what did happen to Bill Grundy?) and getting themselves fired from a succession of record companies. This album, released in 1977, was their first and only real offering on vinyl and at the time was considered to be a real shocker. 23 years after it's original release this all-time classic punk record still delivers with plenty of aplomb although I can't help but feel that now, in the days of post-grunge, that this great album sounds more like a mainstream rock album than what it would have sounded like in 1977. But let's put things into context here: when you think that it had been a mere seven years since the Beatles had broken up, and at a time when the charts were dominated by the likes of Abba, Cliff Richard, ELO, 10cc and the Bee Gees, this album must have seemed incredibly outrageous and offensive. With the passing of time, it is still a great record but perhaps not as shocking as it was back then. This is without doubt THE definitive album of the punk genre and as a musical snapshot of the punk era, this album cannot be equalled or bettered.
There are very , very few albums that excite the listener over thirty years down the line as much as the first time you clapped ears on them. The album that does it for me is Big Fun by Big Fun.......no only kidding it's Never Mind The Bollocks by The Sex Pistols. A ferocious blast through the musty halls of the establishment and middle England it still sounds vital to me.
Released on the 28th October 1977 i can still remember buying the vinyl version of the album ( i was 14 years old and paid for it with my paper round money - i still have the vinyl copy i first bought) getting it home , playing it ( as opposed to making a table lamp out of it) and almost bursting with excitement as the sheer vitriolic verve and lung shredding energy of the music blasted out of the speakers. Curiously my dad poked his head round my bedroom door and enquired what it was i was playing .When i told him he remarked " It's good .....can i borrow it?".This came from a man who listened to Jim Reeves. Truly here was a band to reckon with.
Never Mind The Bollocks is still the only official album released by The Sex Pistols- the group had to all intents and purposes disbanded just a few months after it's release- and the storm created by it's release and some of the songs therein would seem astonishing now( although the Ross/Brand thing shows you can never be sure what will set the controversy meter whirling )
Having said that there is still something compulsively illicit in listening to a song like "Bodies" - gurgling bloody mess....another discharge" - one of only two songs on the album written by the poster classic Pistols line up of Cook/Jones/Rotten and Vicious , along with "Holidays In The Sun". Has there ever been a better album opener than that song? - the crunching jackboots then the static bolts of guitars ushering in Rottens gnarly vocals.
But then Never Mind The Bollocks is chock full of iconoclastic classics. "God Save The Queen" ( especially in the silver jubilee year) "Anarchy In The U.K.", "Pretty Vacant" as well as the acerbic record company riposte "E.M.I." . It is also a mire varied album than given credit for with the more studied chugging rhythmic "Submission " ( not included on the first batch release V2086) and the knotty arrangement of "New York" sitting next to flaying tempestuous tracks like "No Feelings" ( which predicted Thatcherism with it's me me me attitude) and "Liar".
The impact of this album cannot be underestimated . Rottens vocal delivery a snarling form of anti-singing , dripping with sarcasm and over enunciating particular words -"They made you a MORON" - still sounds audacious today and the way producer Chris Thomas eschewed the usual punk method a capturing a live raw sound for denser gradated layers of sound made the songs vivid impeccably musical orchestrations. How anyone can find this album tuneless or just a lot of noise is beyond me. It crackles with sardonic intensity sure ...but it also resonates with fizzing tunes. Chris Bailey of The Saints called it "loud pop music" which is fair enough really as far as I,m concerned .
It's constant high position in albums of all time polls while not an irreducible signifier of the albums quality and importance is a pretty broad hint and one i certainly wouldn't argue with .It makes my top ten no problem. A brilliant coruscating seething statement Never Mind The Bollocks still makes me want to jump up and down my bedroom like i did when i was 14 . You can argue about the relevance and motivations of the band , especially given their recent shenanigans , but you cannot doubt this albums importance in musical history or it's continuing relevance.
on 31 March 2016
The most famous punk album of them all - their isnt really anything that evokes such feelings about the era, the actual events of the music movement that was happening and the sentiments people at the time felt when this was released !!! The ferocity and vitriol of the music/lyrics, the sentiments/views of its protagonists and the way it is conveyed is awesome - basically, its a great big "FCUK YOU" to the music industry and many other things!!
THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST (PUNK) ROCK ALBUMS OF ALL TIME - BAR NONE!!!
There aren't that many that come close either, perhaps "Appetite For Destruction," "Troops Of Tomorrow," "Beat The Bastards," "Leather, Bristles, Studs & Acne" & "Crash Course" are worth a mention but, they just aint like this !!!!
Every song on here is brilliant (IMHO). This remaster version is a little clearer but, whether or not its worth investing in when compared to the difference from the original CD release is debatable - it is clearer around the edges of certain instruments - slightly sharper but not massively; maybe that's a good thing in a way because overproducing something can (in certain cases) detract from it. I personally like it for that reason; that fact that its not overdone and/or, hasn't been sent into stupid over-the-top loudness mode.
If you can get it S/H on here for a cheap enough price I'd recommend it but, just because its been remastered, don't expect ridiculous over the top clarity. 1. It doesn't need it, and 2. What has been done is enough that it doesn't ruin it !!!
on 13 March 2014
Ignore any negative reviews on here regarding the audio quality of this album. I have no hesitation in saying that it really is the absolute bollocks! Stunning clarity and so much power, impact and depth to the music.
As a teenager in the 90s, I used to listen to the original CD of this album and, whilst loving the songs contained within, I always found it a very tinny, flat and slightly weedy sound. A band with the huge cultural impact of the Pistols should never sound weedy! I actually often found myself preferring to listen to the Filthy Lucre live album as, although the tracks weren't performed by the '77 vintage Pistols, they had so much more 'oomph' to them compared to the flat originals on CD.
The (fairly) recently remastered version of this album went a long way to finally putting this issue to rest and now this Blu-ray audio takes it a step even further. In short, it sounds fantastic, full, powerful and exciting and captures the essence of just what an impact the Pistols really had when they appeared on a frankly terrified music scene all those years ago. Now I can understand how incredible it must have been for folks to have first spun this album on vinyl back in '77.
If you love Never Mind the Bollocks and have a halfway decent set-up on which to listen to this Blu-ray audio, it's a no-brainer that you should buy this particular version of the album. Once you've heard it in this form, those old CDs etc are always going to sound hugely inadequate in comparison.
on 11 July 2001
This is punk at it's best, when it was still a strong force of change, before it became acceptable. This album is less than forty minutes long but yet contains enough energy to have you pogoing around your room. Johnny Rottens snarl defined the disgust the youth generation of the seventies felt with their surroundings and the buzzsaw guitars (sorry for that cliché) let loose the anger that was brimming underneath. This is punk before it became fashionable. Songs like Anarchy In The Uk, the controversial God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant are only the tip of the filthy rotten iceberg. If you are a punk fan then simply ignore all the pale imitations. The only other album I've heard that comes close to the fury of the Sex Pistols only release (while still together) is the self titled album from the Clash. Nevermind the bollocks and just buy this album (sorry, couldn't resist that one).
The album is of course a landmark for anyone who likes rock music. This review is about the audio presentation.
Being the owner of around 50 albums in surround formats, I'm not entirely convinced that classic Punk Rock is a genre that would be well served by 5.1 mixes. However, we've not really had much of a chance to find out, have we? The only true Punk Rock album I have in surround is "Germ Free Adolescents" by X-Ray-Spex, one of the very best albums in the genre and that's on a DVDA - it rips out of the speakers, but the bass is whacked up so high in the mix that it no longer sounds like a punk rock album.
Most original Punk Rock is pretty trebly. I've been in the market for a hi-def version of "Never Mind" for a while and have followed with interest comments here and elsewhere online regarding the quality (or not) of the recent CD remaster, earlier pressings and so on. I'm not a vinyl purist, but do own multiple copies of different pressings of this album, the original CD issue, the first Pistols box set and "Kiss This", which is for my money the definitive Pistols anthology.
The absence of a 5.1 mix - typical of Pure Audio, who are always bleating about how they include surround mixes where possible (this album was recorded in 1976/77, guys, come on!) - was initially a disappointment, but a run through at high volume reveals that this is well worth buying for Pistols fans. Despite being produced by Chris Thomas, it's worth remembering that the band didn't want to sound like Pink Floyd or even Roxy Music (a band they liked). Although you won't discover many new layers of detail in the sound (how CT layered that guitar), this is a roaring monster, albeit very dry -there are no really warm tone colours or lush timbres here after all - so the music seems very arid and flat compared to contemporary recordings and a lot of classic rock. But it's not supposed to sound anything but the antithesis of lush - yet its still full, satisfying and colourful in its own way. 'God Save the Queen' sounds particularly good and 'New York' is a total joy as ever- if only more people raved about the album tracks instead of going on and on about the 'big four' singles.
As for the bonus cuts, I'd have much preferred 'I Wanna be Me' be included to complete the actual b sides run associated with the album, but no, we get a load of live recordings instead, which are fairly pointless on a hi-def issue given the lo-fi recording quality.
Listening to the DTS version on a fake 5.1 setting on my home theatre setup, I found the drums particularly satisfying, especially the cymbals and in the spaces between the elements of the kit - a lot of the time, the mix is very full, but in more spacious tracks like 'Submission', the detail does bleed through more. The vocals sound good too, but the bass and kick drum aren't too overemphasised, as I was worried they would be.
Overall, this isn't a groundbreaking leap forward in sonic quality, but it has certainly put me off buying Japanese SHMCD versions or any other future variant until a 5.1 version comes along, though as I say, I don't think a huge amount of sonic information would be gained in a surround mix. We do need more hi-def versions of Punk classics though - I think albums by The Stranglers and Buzzcocks (especially those produced by Martin Rushent) would really benefit from 5.1, being louder, lusher records.
Gripes: as ever, this Pure Audio disc starts playing as soon as the menu screen comes up, before you have any chance to select which audio option you want to go for. This is infuriating and I wish they'd stop issuing discs with this stupid lack of attention to detail. Additionally, the folding design of the inner booklet, although ingenious, is virtually impossible to refold correctly.
in short, a good version of a classic, but compromised by poor decision-making and presentation by Pure Audio.
on 1 July 2013
Practically since the day Punk broke into the general public's collective (un)conscience in this country, idiot music journos have been wittering on about how Punk was "a return to 1950's Rock n' Roll sensibilities (man)", describing it as some kind of a rock "year zero". Total pish! As much as the Clash protested it in `1977', the intervening two decades could NOT be denied!
For starters, if anything was a return to 1950's rock stylings it was PUB rock, not Punk! While the likes of Dr Feelgood and Ducks Deluxe were churning out their (admittedly high energy) take on early rock n' roll and R & B, the Sex Pistols were gestating a far more potent brew altogether and it wasn't being fuelled by Chuck Berry records!
A lot has been written about `proto' Punk and the influence it had on the Pistols and the music of the 1976 generation as a whole. Too true. The Velvets, The Stooges, MC5, Bowie, New York Dolls, Deviants and even Hawkwind all played their part in fuelling the aggression and attitude inherent in this explosive new style. Less is written about the role the likes of the Faces and Mott the Hoople played, but that too cannot be ignored. Then there's Mr Rotten's apparent Peter Hammill fixation. Oh yes indeedy.
All well and good. However, for me, if Punk was truly a return to anything, it was to a mid-60's Beat and Garage vibe. That's where the real fuel for the fire came from. The stripped-down aggression of the Pretty Things, Kinks, Who, Yardbirds, Small Faces, Creation and early Stones (or even the early Beatles to some degree) is far more comparable to Punk than anything from the 50's ever will be. Throw in a handy copy of Lenny Kaye's seminal `Nuggets' compilation of mid-60's American garage classics and the picture is pretty much complete.
I'm not knocking the 50's rockers. I just think that the very `showbiz' inclinations of key Rock n' rollers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry were surely anathema during the nihilistic days of Punk, whereas there was no denying the potency of Pete Townshend ramming his guitar through his speakers! Sure, The Clash later took Bo Diddley on the road with them and got Ray Lowry to do the cover of 'London Calling' up like the first Presley album, but Punk 'proper' was over by then.
Fact is, most of the Punk generation weren't even born in 1956, let alone listening to Elvis! But they *did* grow up listening to 1960's beat on the radio, that's for sure. Witness the rehearsal tapes of the Pistols attempting `Through My Eyes' by the Creation, `Watcha Gonna Do About It' by the Small Faces and `Don't Give Me No Lip Child' by none other than Dave Berry!
I actually find it's very easy to draw parallels between the `main' Punk bands and their mid-60's forebears. Buzzcocks for instance, were clearly Kinks-like. The Clash echo the Stones. The Damned channel the Who's sheer anarchy. The Undertones echo the Small Faces tight sound. The Stranglers have more than a hint of the Zombies. The Jam are clearly Beatles-inspired. The Pistols meanwhile, remind me of the Pretty Things filtered through the Stooges!
Which brings me - finally - to `Never Mind the Wotsits'. Guess what? It's a great album. You don't need me to tell you that. Only two criticisms spring to mind. One - it would've been better with Matlock on bass throughout. Two - the layering of guitars is perhaps a little overdone, pushing the album away from the garage towards chunkier hard rock territory. Of course, Johnny's vocals save the day - as usual.
Buy it, play it to death, then listen to something REALLY worthwhile like `Metal Box' or `The Scream'.