Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Rezillos - Can't Stand the Rezillos

Back when I was in high school, and my rubric for musical criticism was "loud, fast, louder, faster, EVERYBODY GET IN THE MOSH PIT," I got a compilation with a song on it called "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight" by The Rezillos. It fit all of my criteria: it was rowdy, boisterous, loud, and encouraged an evening of violence and mayhem. Occasionally, while listening to it alone, I would pump my fist in the air and say the word "oi" a lot. Aren't teenagers silly?

Later on, I picked up the full album and upon discovering that the entire album was not in fact filled with head-kicking excitement, let it languish in my CD rack until I became old enough to appreciate it for what it is: one of the greatest party records I have ever heard in my life.

Can't Stand the Rezillos is a punk record, no doubt. But I was in that phase where everything had to sound like the Misfits, and The Rezillos came out of that era where the terms "punk" and "new wave" were fairly interchangeable: a few short years later, the Exploited would be the former and the Thompson Twins the latter, and everything just got awkward. But in 1978, when the Buzzcocks and the Ramones were riding high in the saddle, it was okay to write bouncy, insidiously catchy, devilishly fun pop songs and just play them really fast. Not hardcore fast, just fast. There are no down-tempo ballads, no pretensions of high art: this album starts in a good mood, stays that way, and finishes in an even better mood. There's one cover on the original LP, and if you get the CD version, it comes with a bunch of live tracks, which feature a bunch more covers. In order to give you an idea of what this band is trying to accomplish, take a look at the songs they're copping from other bands:

"Glad All Over"
"Land of 1,000 Dances"
"I Need You" (Kinks)
"Ballroom Blitz"

See? No messing around. Just fun! You like fun, right? So why aren't you listening to the Rezillos already?

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