You Need – Germ Free Adolescents by X Ray Spex

XrayspexOk. Punk, by nature of it’s DIY attitude spewed out some rubbish. That includes most of The Clash’s output for starters. It also threw up some crackers, neatly bring us to X Ray Spex, featuring a girl who can’t sing, dance or really write good tunes. Poly Styrene is that very girl, and she kicked off the X Ray Spex career with an advert in the NME and MELODY MAKER which started with ‘YOUNG PUNX WHO WANT TO STICK IT TOGETHER’.

What emerged from a series of ramshackle shows and ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’ was the excellently patchy Germ Free Adolescents!

It’s incredibly difficult to say why the Spex debut LP (and only real LP in my books) is so great… Poly sings like something being tortured with something sharp and hot. The sax’ featured under cranked guitars is, quite often, out of tune. As with most punk LPs, the charm lies in the energy and occassional funny/clever lyric. In the awesome ‘Art-i-ficial’, Poly squeaks "I WANNA BE A FROZEN PEA" which, to this day has somehow managed to remain one of my favourite lyrics ever written. The off kilter feel to the LP opener is another endearing factor. In fact, this LP is, as a whole, completely endearing.

If The Clash feel like a posh boy going on about this’n’that, and The Buzzcocks a little too well-read, then the Spex definitely feel like something fun and exciting. This is a group that aren’t ashamed to have F-U-N on record, very much in the same way as The Ramones. Joey et al sang about sewer pipes, X Ray Spex sing about Woolworths. ‘Warrior in Woolworths’ is perfect pop… and all kitchen sink drama… and quite toned down compared to the faux-aggression served up by the former prog fans of the Sex Pistols (Lydon was a Mott The Hoople fan).

Do yourself a favour and buy this LP. It’s ace.

Mof Gimmers

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