London put their best boot forward.
Ciao! review by JOHN V. Original here.
It’s not often these days that a new album hits me right between the eyes, but this did. Frankly, it’s the best thing I’ve heard in ages – just as I thought all the really good ones had been made long ago.
London were a quartet formed at the end of 1976, made two singles and an EP which nudged the Top 50 the following year, and an album just as they were about to disband in early 1978. Thirty years later they were back, with new guitarist Hugh O’Donnell and drummer Colin Watterston joining lead vocalist Riff Regan and bassist/vocalist Steve Voice from the original line-up. Several gigs and an official live bootleg later, here comes the second album. And it really is magnificent.
About 30 seconds of single-note feedback, gradually building up until the drums and bass kick in, open up the collection. ‘When the Night Falls’, a sadly almost-forgotten 1966 single by Freakbeat/early psych UK band The Eyes, is the only cover version to be heard. Controlled yet storming guitar and a powerful vocal from Riff, sounding uncannily like early David Bowie at times, makes for a great start.
‘Pop’, a three-second sort of instrumental (OK, a sound effect – they wanted to record the world’s shortest ever track), leads into ‘Minute Man’, powered by an almost ridiculously infectious guitar riff and tongue-in-cheek lyrics which I can’t say much more about on a family-friendly website. It’s similar in feel to Status Quo at their most urgent, or even classic mid/late-60s Who, Move, Rolling Stones.
‘Every Dog’ is more relaxed, with added colour courtesy of 12-string guitar, a tambourine accentuating the drums, and a slight nod to The Jam in ‘That’s Entertainment’ mode.
A chugging guitar intro reminiscent of early U2 kicks off ‘Rebecca’, a tale of ’A girl I know, flame red hair, gets hearts beating, drives you to despair.’ By the time it reached the short but sweet and gutsy guitar break, I was starting to think Quo’s ‘Paper Plane’ – although this one uses more than three chords! The pace continues likewise with ‘Animal Attraction’, which was conjuring up memories of the Undertones, Buzzcocks, the Boomtown Rats (at their early best, mind). Musically it’s given an extra lift not only by the basic hook, but also – one for the guitarists among you – the way the tune effortlessly moves up one pitch with each succeeding verse.
‘Like It Never Happened’ will instantly have those of us of, er, a certain age smiling at the lyrics. To some extent, it’s a song based around Steve namechecking everything he liked from years gone by - ’Small Faces – going places – feeling free – Simon Dee.’ (Own up, a few of you might just remember Mr D).
An interesting drum pattern from Colin drives ‘Celebrity Crash’ along – think of a cross between The Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’. Combined with extra guitar parts laid down on a trip to New York by Hugh, who also taped some street sounds there that can be heard during the drum break, it’s quite an epic – and they take less than three minutes to say it all.
‘Standing Alone’ is the real surprise on this album, not to mention bringing with it a piece of musical history. A ballad (yes, they can do it – they have) co-written by Riff, Steve and Hugh, with reflective lyrics, it adds a new dimension with trumpet and strings effects produced by a mellotron, an early analogue tape sampler superseded in the 1970s by synthesisers, but not before it was used by prog-rock deities King Crimson on ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ and the Beatles on ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. And when I say it, according to studio logs, London were using the very same mellotron that those groups themselves used.
The high energy rock’n’roll returns on ‘Get Out of London’, the lyrics in part an angry riposte to some fool who came to a gig when they were ’playin’ their home town and havin’ a blast’ and complained that the show was a farce. ‘Get Out of London’ was the retort, ’we don’t want you around...get out of this town today.’ Finally, ’77 Dreams’ is another brisk, powerful buzzsaw guitar-driven number that ends on some dynamic feedback effects.
An eight-page booklet designed by Hugh the guitarist containing a short biography of the band and notes about the recording of the album, plus a centre-spread of photos taken onstage, and an eye-catching pic of an astronaut on the moon – look closely at where his face should be, and you will see the band.
Whereas their first album ‘Animal Games’ (later reissued on CD with bonus tracks as ‘London - The Punk Rock Collection’) was basically punk with the odd slight deviation, this second album shows more of a progression towards more mainstream pop-rock. Had it been released ten or fifteen years ago when singles ruled, several tracks would have been obvious contenders, with ‘Minute Man’, ‘Animal Attraction’ and ‘Get Out of London’ topping the list. Take a few strong infectious hooks, ensure the adrenalin is there, and you can’t go wrong. These guys certainly don’t.
I was lucky enough to catch the band at a recent gig in a packed club in – well, London, actually. They played about half a dozen of these tracks, alongside older material, and the result was a scorching performance which had the punters in the palm of their hand almost from the opening chord.
It’s on a small indie label, so you’d be lucky to find it in the high street. Go online (well, who doesn’t buy CDs online these days?), and you will be well rewarded. And if they have a gig at a venue near you, make sure you’re there on the night.
Oh, and some of us can’t wait 34 years for the next album. Rumour has it that they won’t make us hang on that long, thank goodness. Meanwhile, enjoy this one!
London - Reboot.
Eyeplug Magazine 2017 review by Mohair Sweets. Original here.
Considering it was thirty-plus years since London had called it a day this release is nothing short of remarkable. Fair dues only Riff (vocals) and Steve (bass) remain from the original band, but they’ve managed to keep the feel and the sound of the late seventies line-up and recordings. Well, maybe it is a tad more ‘hi -fi’ compared to the technology of the punk era but, the bite, spite and spit (only joking) are fully intact. New boys Hugh O’Donnell (guitar, replacing Dave Wight) and Colin Watterston (drums, replacing Jon Moss) are a perfect fit. O’Donnell possesses an absolute classic ’77 era guitar tone that is equal parts Thunders/Jones with the main vein buzz-saw of countless others like Marco Pirroni, Steve Diggle et al. Most impressive. Kicking off with the Creation-esque ‘When the Night Falls’ the band then tackles – topically at least – sexuality, failed (and questionable) relations, success, failure, nostalgia and celebrity with musical smatterings of acoustic, garage/freakbeat riffage and plenty of good old three (or possibly four) chord punk. Y’know like the kind they used to make back when London first appeared on the scene. Nice.
London - Reboot.
Viva Le Rock review by Scott Zverblis. Original here.
Three and a half decades later, the London punks return.
London, the underground punk act from Britain's second wave, reunites after 34 years with half of its first-album line-up intact; Riff Regan (vocals) and Steve Voice (bass). Hugh O'Donnell (guitar) and Colin Watterston (drums) fill in the gaps. You have to wonder what would inspire 50-year-old blokes to dust off their instruments and shout about the world's problems like nothing had changed since '78. Nevertheless, things come off pretty well for the band, who were once managed by legendary music manager Simon Napier-Bell, and it's amazing to think that, even after all these years apart, the band can record a fairly decent album. However, knowing the current climate of the music charts – saturated with guys with laptops - ‘Reboot’ may not get the amount of record sales that it deserves, which is a real shame. Rating: 6/10.
London - Reboot.
Studs & Punks review by Woodstock Punkrock. Original here.
London’s manager Mark dropped this into my grubby mitt at a recent Daggers Punk Gig, and I listened to it for the first time on the way home that night, my apologises for this review taking longer than normal but with work, the band, other commitments and fighting off some weird lurgy it has taken longer than I hoped, But here it is so have a read…
Firstly the cover: a Union Flag pair of Docs. Quality that, the bio inside (reminding us that this band was originally around in 1977) and the photos completing the package nicely. Although personally a lyric sheet would have completed it haha but that’s just me.
So to the music. Now having seen London and played with them recently I have an idea what this is going to be like. Rock, Punk and Roll I am expecting and to a degree that’s what I get but with so much more.
When the Night Falls – First to don the boots and kick its way out of the speakers. A steady head nodding paced piece of rock n roll, clean and crisp with Marshall styled distorted guitar, pounding drums and rolling and rocking steady bass lines keeping it all on track for Riff’s pleasant and clear vocal singing, passion and power in equal measures with a cheeky edge. The mix is spot on for the band’s style and it drags you in from the off, good start
Pop – haha goes the weasel…
Minute Man – More upbeat with more of a banging riff, rocks along nicely. Very British style rock punk and roll, like the Beatles meeting the Stones and all being fucked by the Monkees haha. Simple and straight forward this one boots you swiftly in the stomach and then makes you dance in a jerking ridiculous manner, it pulses in and out through the verse into the short simple chorus, some nice little guitar work throughout and you have another winner including the fake ending before the end - good rock and roll here people.
Every Dog – I knew a man what can I say? Well I will tell you what I can say is this. This is a summer Hit. Beautiful hazy sunny summer fun, window down, cruising the roads with this blasting out. Even has a fucking tambourine. The sing-a-line answer with the title is great and easy to get hooked into and before you know it you’re joining in every dog has its day, and that’s when you know you got a winner, every dog has its day, as you can see it’s very catchy as every dog has its day, right enough of that!!! I love the note played guitar work dropped in and out throughout the song, it may sound corny and cheesy but it’s just a beautiful little song and my second favourite on the CD.
Rebecca – Neat little guitar riff leads us into this song. The verse is a pulsing affair, chugging along nicely to the chorus, which is where this one loses me. I am not sure what it is, maybe the laces are undone or the spelled out word Rebecca, or the sung word Rebecca but either way this one just doesn’t work for me. I have listened over and over but it just is not for me. Sorry Rebecca, nothing against you personally, just not a gleaming boot.
Animal Attraction – 70s Punk this is as it walks like a model and kisses like a slut, strutting along with its head held high on platform 8 hole Docs. Perfectly formed, simple and straight forward, but likable and enjoyable. For me a good comeback after the last one, bopping along to the fade.
Like it Never Happened – And here is another class piece of work from the boys. A plethora of cult words, sorted into a great little walk through the history of cool and funny things. As the drums hammer along accompanied by the rattling bass line, the vocals sing out as the song twists back and forth but always returning to the verse riff. I especially like it when the guitar drops out leaving the bass and drums punching along. Again this is another song you can’t help but smile at and enjoy, so get this CD and do so!!
Celebrity Crash – Another pop rock song here with added psychedelic zing. Snappy drums lead this song with the guitars and melody stabbing in and out. Love the prolonged drum only section that has you thinking it’s the end of the song before bouncing back into the song with an army of march boots at its head, good stuff.
Standing Alone – This is one of those Missing Beatles’ tracks everyone talks about, complete with brass and an organ (no not one of those). Soft and relaxed this also reminds me a little of the Damned with the Gothic edge replaced by the Monkees. A very different feel to the other tracks but works and fits well and I enjoy listening to it and its position is perfect before the best song on the CD.
Get Out Of London – Back to the banging rock ‘n’ roll. Catchy and cool, it smashes along like a double decker careering around Trafalgar Square, and the chorus is so catchy it’s like trying not to lick the sugar from your lips while eating a doughnut not joining in haha. This is my favourite track on the CD and even the drawn-out fuzzy guitar solo is just perfect. Every band wants a song like this and this is London’s. Get ya boots moving to this one…
77 Dreams – So the last track of a very varied but enjoyable collection of songs this one and they end on a punchy power pop package with the now expected London harmonies, pounding rhythm section, great fuzztone guitars, tambourine and Riff’s unique and very enjoyable vocal style. A head nodding, boot tapping package and a sizzling sensation, pop punch, punk power, slithering psychedelic edges and lots and lots of rock ‘n’ roll.
So there you go. Hardcore metal in ya face, deeply political riot-rallying venom it is not and a big YES for that. It’s an upbeat feel-good record from a group of seasoned and talented musicians who are obviously enjoying making their music and that’s always a good thing. I have to say I was a fan of the band and then when I was reintroduced to them recently I became even more of a fan but now I have this CD I am a Huge Fan. What a great band, doing it their way. I for one like smiling and this record makes me smile.
Well done but I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that, so next time you are thinking what to do get out and see London, they’re worth being around and this is yet another CD you need to own.
London - Reboot.
3rd Generation Nation review by Ralf Real Shock. Original here.
When old bands decide to reform, it often leads back into the studio to record new material for a single or a bravely attempted album. In most cases I get a little queasy feeling in the stomach. How many times do you feel let down when you hear the finished product?
With LONDON, however, it’s completely different. They've been back in the studio and emerged with a great album. I would not have expected this as back in 1977 they were similar to bands like the Drones and the Suburban Studs. They had some good songs but some not so good. But let’s leave those days discreetly to one side, I definitely much prefer the music of today’s London.
Dizzy Detour had already warned me that this album was really good. Now, for two weeks I have had the CD continuously set on repeat. To my amazement it has got stuck inside my brain. That’s what happens when you find a good record in this day and age.
London have actually accomplished that rare thing of following up their first album ‘Animal Games’ (released 34 years ago) with a more successful record. Nothing has been left to chance. The songs have been put together with real care and attention and are well mixed.
From the original 77 line-up, only singer Riff Regan and bassist Steve Voice remain. Riff’s voice is instantly recognisable again. Only the best bands have unique singers that leave lasting impressions. Andy Blade of Eater sounds quite different from Wayne Barrett of Slaughter and the Dogs. Riff Regan has, very much, his own voice.
Among my personal favourites are the quieter songs “Every Dog” and “Standing Alone”. The music sounds so happy but at the same time completely withdrawn. It is harmonious and beautifully relaxed. For a moment everything is hunky dory again. Thanks very much, London! I’m sure I’ll hear these two songs again in ten years time and will still appreciate them.
I award the album *****+
London - Reboot.
Step 1 Music review. Original here.
Second full-length album (with 34 years delay!) by the UK punk vets LONDON.Ten brand new punk cuts with interesting The Who-hints. Includes The Eyes’ cover "When the Night Falls". Great, meaningful comeback! They're not too old for kickin' Punk Rock!
London - Reboot.
Ox-fanzine review by Joachim Hiller. Original here.
LONDON formed in 1976 in London and were part of the early British punk scene but within two years they had broken up. They released a few singles and in February 1978 their one and only album ‘Animal Games’ was posthumously released. By this time, however, they had all gone their separate ways.
More recently two of the original members Riff Regan (vocals) and Steve Voice (bass, guitars, vocals) got back together and with two new members went back into the studio to make a new album.
Now there are countless examples of old punk bands who want to make it one more time and have consequently plagued the world with unnecessary, lame rock albums but LONDON deserve respect. REBOOT is a top quality comeback album and not just a return to the old sound they once gave us.
These days there are a lot of young bands who are trying to sound ‘authentic’ and street cred and it’s nice to know that if they were to listen to these guys they might learn a thing or two.
On REBOOT early British punk meets influences from Freakbeat and the rock ‘n’ roll of the mid-60s. LONDON have taken punk to a new radical style whilst at the same time sharing some dynamics from bands like The Who.
Rating: ******* (7 out of 10)
London - Reboot.
Incognito review by Andreas Kuttner. Original here.
A few years ago there was a rumour going round that LONDON, an original punk band who had recorded a few singles and an album in 1977 and 1978, had come back from the dead and had been playing some gigs in their hometown. Well it now appears that they have released an album of 10 great new songs and they are exactly what you would expect of a band who’ve been around the block a bit. Somehow they’ve managed to turn a blend of pub-rock and punk into something that sounds rather sophisticated. There’s loads of information about the band and the songs in the accompanying booklet which incidentally is packed solid with Union Jack flags. REBOOT is released on the punk specialist label DETOUR.
London - Reboot.
Clearspot review. Original here.
The previous release of London, 'Animal Games' was recorded in 1977. Now, 35 years later, they’re back! REBOOT features ten brand new tracks, including a stunning version of The Eyes' mod classic 'When The Night Falls'. Their trademark hooks and adrenalin-filled tight playing are still present and as impressive as in the old days.
London - Reboot.
Bandworm review. Original here.
After a long awaited 34 year delay the UK 77 band London (with their original bass player and singer in the line-up), release their second album! 10 new tracks (including a brilliant punk version of the mod 60s classic ‘When The Night Falls’) is recorded in the spirit of their masterpiece 1978 album ‘Animal Games’ but refreshed by some Who/Electric Prunes influences. A contemporary update!
London - Reboot.
UClassic review by Richard Muska. Original here.
A while back I warned you of the impending release of a new album from the British band LONDON and it has now arrived. It is called REBOOT and is their highly anticipated new second album following on from ‘Animal Games’ released 34 years ago. Has it been worth the wait? Read on…
Well to begin with the first track on the album, a cover of ‘When The Night Falls’ a 1966 song by The Eyes, succeeds so well that it is significantly better than the original. The second song ‘Pop’ is obviously there for marketing reasons. Why? It is only a 4 second track that makes a bubble popping sound :))
The third song ‘Minute Man’ bears a little resemblance to the classic style the band created all those years ago. But this difference is slight and I feel that this new album is much stronger and sharper than any of the old singles and their LP ‘Animal Games’. Since 2008 the band still play the old material at live gigs and you would not expect anything else, but this change has resulted in great songs like ‘Every Dog’ with its rich acoustic guitar. This alone allows the album to receive 4 Stars.
Having said that, the song ‘Celebrity Crash’ is done in the above-mentioned classic ‘London’ style. I loved it from the first play and don’t know of any other British band that can still knock out the same sound after so many years.
One standout track is ‘Standing Alone’ which is a beautiful ballad and one of my favourites on the album. Equally great is ‘Get Out Of London’ which was performed at the Recykl Festival in Olomouc and I mentioned it then in my review. But I misheard the title back then. At the time I thought they were singing ‘We’re the London’! Another great rocker, ‘77 Dreams’, closes the album.
As far as the packaging goes, it’s got a really nice cover which the band got from the artist Corbin Adler who created the original in 1994. Inside the booklet there is a collage of photos and information about the band’s history. It’s a shame that there are no lyrics in the booklet as I always like to read them.
My final verdict on this long awaited album is very positive because it is a way above average comeback. The band has retained its own style and anyone who loved the band first time around in the first wave of British punk should definitely buy this CD.
London - Reboot.
Doodah Punk review. Original here.
I know they say the second album is usually the hardest one to make, but 35 years is a long time in the making. Was it worth the wait? The answer is YES! Opening with their take on garage classic When The Night Falls, through shortest ever number Pop, then Minute Man, Every Dog, Rebecca, Animal Attraction, Like It Never Happened, Celebrity Crash, Standing Alone, chantalong Get Out Of London (one of the best songs of the last 30 years) and 77 Dreams. This is one hell of an album, every track stands up with the best of '77. Get it now.
London - Reboot.
Timebomb (Japan) review. Original here.
Sometimes it takes a long time for a decent band to get around to recording their second album. In LONDON’s case it took 34 years! REBOOT is only their first new album since ‘Animal Games’ came out in 1978. Fortunately they are as dynamic as ever with their catchy songs and tight playing. There are 11 tracks altogether on this Detour Records CD including a cover of The Eyes’ masterpiece ‘When The Night Falls’.
London - Reboot.
Studs & Punks review by Moo. Original here.
I truly got what I expected from this CD. With a front cover containing Union Jack covered DMs what else would blast out of my speakers?? British punk in red, white and blue of course!
The band formed in ’77 and then disappeared until now with this being their latest release. I’m too young to remember 1977 but I imagine this CD will be a time machine for many people.
Looking at the album sleeve before I listened I was unsure how serious the album is as it’s released on Bin Liner Records with its catalogue number being RUBBISHCD 012.
The first track When The Night Falls is a great first track and worthy of opening the album. Solid rhythm, good build up with distortion and overdrive ringing through your stereo. Lyrics leave a bit to be desired as do the vocals. The drums drive the song and it plods along at a steady pace.
Pop is an interesting track. Around 4 seconds in length. It’s simply a ‘pop’ noise! Hmmm! Not sure if it has a purpose.
Minute Man is up next and picks up the pace a bit. The vocals again have an effect on which disappoints me. They don’t seem to carry the raw edge that ’77 punk is known for. The drums come across quite tinny in sound and lack bass drum thumps. The guitars have a very rock ‘n’ roll sound and compliment the song well.
Every Dog moves away from the punk side of rock using open chords on the guitars and more swing to its rhythm, it’s a good sing-a-long track yet again the vocals make me uncomfortable with the effect that distorts lead singer Riff’s voice.
I was concerned with the title of the next track. Rebecca is a name I’ve never heard used in a punk song, love song or in fact any song. Please correct me if you know of one! I’m pretty sure it’s because the name doesn’t suit the song. Musically the song is great with a brilliant solo on guitar from Steve showing what he’s capable of. The chants spelling out “R-E-B-E-C-C-A” don’t work for me at all and quite honestly make the song seem like a joke.
The next song keeps the tempo of the album going when the band perform Animal Attraction. A very repetitive song with the title being repeated several times in every verse. Lyrics are witty in places describing the girl. “Walks like a model, kisses like a slut” being my favourite I think!
Like It Never Happened reminded me of 90s Britpop from the likes of Blur rather than the punk sound that the 70s provided us with.
Finally I hear Riff Regan’s real voice on Celebrity Crash and the punk edge coming flying back to kick you in the face. Broken guitars, bass and thumping drums driving the song. This is without a doubt my favourite song and finally I find something to really like about this band. The guitars go missing for 20 seconds in the middle of the song where maybe a drum solo would have been better than drum a constant beat to fill some time but again this is their top song for me.
Standing Alone comes across again like a 90s Britpop track. More experimental with the music side and again the vocals are clear. It’s now almost like the first half of the album is an entirely different band from the one who finished the album. This is a great song. Reminds me a bit of Madness with Suggs singing another one of those off-beat bubblegum pop records he writes so well. Love this song!
Get Out Of London is a party track and it’s gggrrrreeeaaatttt! Nice pace, good solid melody and lets face it who doesn’t want to get out of London?!?!
The final track returns us back to ’77 with sound and style and it’s called 77 Dreams but don’t be fooled, it’s not about dreaming of ’77 but in fact about having 77 dreams and one of them coming true.
I wonder if their next album will take another 30 plus years to write...
London - Reboot.
Home of StreetRock’n’Roll review.
LONDON! 34 years after their legendary "Animal Games" album of 1977, the UK punk combo return with their second album REBOOT, recorded in 2011.
10 new tracks feature here in the old spirit, including a cover of the Eyes’ When The Night Falls. They’ve even made history by recording one track Standing Alone using a Mellotron (an electro-mechanical keyboard instrument). But this was no ordinary Mellotron, this is the very one the Beatles used during their "Magical Mystery Tour" sessions. REBOOT is released as a CD on the Bin Liner record label.
London - Reboot.
Mr Rock review at HMV. Original here.
Long awaited second album from cult punk band London. Great mix of punk and psych and destined to be a classic of its genre.
Reviews of London The Punk Rock Collection
The sound of the city - from the City (and everyone's a winner).
Ciao! review by JOHN V. Original here.
For every punk and new wave band which made headlines (and the Top 20) in 1977, there were several that never quite made the bright lights. One outfit that deserved far, far better was London.
Formed at the end of 1976 in - well, London, actually - was one such group. They consisted of vocalist Riff Regan, bassist/vocalist Steve Voice, guitarist Dave Wight, and ex-Clash drummer Jon Moss. After a nationwide tour supporting the Stranglers they went on the road as the headline attraction, made two singles and a 4-track EP which nudged the lower reaches of the Top 50 without quite making it. By the end of 1977 their album 'Animal Games' was ready for release. But lack of major success and funds, coupled with Moss's decision to join the Damned (he later joined Culture Club too), left them disinclined to carry on.
Goodbye London - for thirty years. Regan opted for a solo career, then under his real name of Miles Tredinnick went into writing for stage and TV. But in 2007 he and Voice recruited two new members, Hugh O'Donnell (guitar, vocals) and Colin Watterston (drums) and they have been gigging ever since.
Some ten years before that, by which time the original vinyls had become collectable and were changing hands for astonishing sums, Captain Oi! records did us all a favour and issued the entire back catalogue on this CD. So yes, once again you can get into London.
Let me put my head above the parapet and say that musically they had just as much energy and passion as the Pistols and the Clash. (Heather McCartney once named them as one of her favourite bands, so I'm not alone). Regan had a voice that hovered menacingly between David Bowie, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople and Johnny Rotten, while Voice's bass and Wight's guitar could hold their own against any of their peers, and Moss sure gave those skins and cymbals a mighty good hammering. Add to that a quiverful of (mostly) short, punchy, hook-laden songs - and you wonder why oh why those singles never flew out of the shops at the time.
Fifteen tracks make up this collection. Two are the same song - the first of their singles, 'Everyone's a Winner' (not to be confused with Hot Chocolate's near-contemporary chartbuster 'Every 1's a Winner') appears twice, with minor differences in the vocals on the single and album version. Only one track, the much-covered 'Friday On My Mind', was not written by them. All four members had a hand in writing the others, Regan getting the lion's share.
Doing a full track-by-track review is probably pointless, so I'll confine myself to the highlights. The opener, 'No Time', kicks off proceedings in a blaze of glory. A really strong hook and sense of urgency made this one of their most popular numbers on stage. It puts me in mind a little of the Rods' top tenner hit from the same time, 'Do Anything You Wanna Do'.
'Everyone's a Winner' is a wonderful rabble-rouser, with a maniacal laugh at the start and a short burst of heavy echo on the vocals later on. "Everyone's a winner, everyone's a golden wonder for you-ou."
Now if only Golden Wonder Crisps had wanted something for a TV ad in 1977, it could have been huge.
'Summer of Love', at four and a half minutes one of the longest tracks, is a tad slower. It starts off with a few seconds of ersatz heavy metal guitar, before cruising into a searing rocker about the summer of love in 1977 - or was it 1967 - or any of the years in between? Hell, who cares. Suffice to say that Regan's tonsils are working overtime on this one, and the other guys are playing like there was no tomorrow.
'Animal Games', the final single and also the title track of their sole album, released early in 1978 just after they split, is quite adventurous. A slightly funky bassline, with some interesting guitar work which varies from a searing solo at one point to a few restrained notes with plenty of echo, this is another of the four-minutes-plus numbers. If only somebody had added keyboards, it could almost pass for something by the Stranglers.
'Friday On My Mind' was originally a hit for the Easybeats in 1966, and several others have had a crack at it since then. But in London's hands, this wonderful blast of power pop takes on a new sense of urgency.
I could go on at length about all the shorter, fast'n'furious stuff, like 'Swinging London', 'Handcuffed', 'Us Kids Cold', 'Young', 'Speed Speed'. Just take it from me, they should all be played loud, and they still bite just as hard as they ever did. You may not find them on every 'Best Punk Album in the World...Ever!' compilation currently available at a high street near you, but take a listen, and you'll find enough raw energy, hooks, and more than a hint of genuine musical ability proving that there was enough potential below the surface to let them develop in further directions, if only they had stayed together long enough for a second album.
A good selection of photos, artwork from the original album, repros of the original picture sleeves, biographical note and discography, is ample proof of the care with which this set was put together. Like many collectors' items, you're unlikely to find it on the high street, so surf around. Go on, click on Amazon, you know it makes sense...
Enjoy - and then try and see them live if you can!
London - The Punk Rock Collection.
Allmusic.com review by Dave Thompson. Original here.
Best remembered for the presence of future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, both London and their Animal Games album were very much ranked in the lower regions of the punk hierarchy, just one more in the endless gaggle of bands who arose in response to the first wave of the movement without an original bone in their bodies. That, at least, is how the history books recall them, but the reality of the matter, as documented on this 15-track collection, is somewhat less scathing.
Comprising Animal Games in its entirety together with sundry associated singles and EP tracks, The Punk Rock Collection opens with the volcanic "No Time" still one of the most vicariously thrilling noises of the entire era, and immediately paints a capital band who knew precisely what they were doing and believed in it wholeheartedly.
Three successive chant-along singles "Everyone's a Winner", "Summer of Love", and "Animal Games" itself speak volumes for the preoccupations of the period, but the CD, like the band, reaches its ultimate peak among the bonus tracks with a stunning revitalization of the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind". Originally buried away on the Summer of Love EP, it is clearly modeled upon David Bowie's own revision of the song for his Pin Ups album, but fed through with a spiky aggression that old Ziggy could never have predicted. Elsewhere, "Good Looking Girls" has a bright proto-power pop edge to it, while "Siouxsie Sue" - well, you can probably guess who that's about. London did have their fair share of unremarkable rent-a-punk rockers, it is true. But The Punk Rock Collection contains sufficient surpassing gems to more than outweigh them.
London - The Punk Rock Collection.
Allmusic.com review by Jo-Ann Greene. Original here.
One of the great could-have-beens of the early British punk scene, London released three singles and an album in their brief two-year lifespan. With a little more time, they might have made a real mark on the scene, instead they just gave the world future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. Singer Miles Tredinnick had previously worked for maverick movie producer Robert Stigwood and he brought that sense of showmanship to his band. An ad in the music papers in late 1976 brought him requisite musicians in drummer Moss, guitarist Colin Wight, and bassist Steve Voice. Both Tredinnick and Wight promptly changed their names, the latter dropping Colin in favor of Dave, the former opting for the more punk-flavored Riff Regan (a tribute to the lead characters in the popular British crime drama The Sweeney). London, not surprisingly, was the quartet's hometown.
In attendance at their debut gig in North London just happened to be the assistant to Simon Napier Bell, the legendary manager who would later go on to handle Wham. On the enthused word of his assistant, Napier Bell grabbed up the group and quickly went to work on their behalf. Within weeks, the quartet swiftly moved to headlining clubs and then on to the opening slot of the Stranglers' early 1977 national tour. Even with a slew of show cancellations, due to fear of punk bands in the provinces, London made enough of a splash to be snatched up by MCA Records in March 1977.
Their debut single, "Everyone's a Winner"/"Handcuffed" hit the shops that May. More headlining gigs followed, with the flamboyant director Mike Mansfield brought in to shoot their video. Everyone was convinced that "Winner" really was one, and while the single sold well, it didn't chart.
Regardless, hopes were high for the follow-up, "Summer of Love", which was released in August. The single sported three B-sides, the frenetic "No Time" the band's tribute to Banshees chanteuse "Siouxsie Sue" and a rousing cover of the Easybeat's "Friday on My Mind". This time, London did breach the charts, and band, label, and manager were all sure that they had a hit on their hands. They were wrong as the single stalled at number 52.
November's "Animal Games"/"Us Kids Cold" couldn't better that, although it did win them an appearance on the televised music show So It Goes. Attention now moved to the recording of London's debut album. Napier Bell, who was equally adept as a producer, took his place behind the control board and coaxed a blistering album out of the band. Unfortunately, London was already gone before Animal Games arrived early in 1978.
Rat Scabies had departed the Damned the previous October and Moss was approached to replace him. The drummer played his final show with London in December 1977 at the London Marquee. The remaining trio then began auditioning new stickmen to no avail. They gave up for good early in the new year. Ironically enough, the Damned called it quits soon after and Moss wandered off in search of greener pastures. He found them with a flamboyant singer/scenester named Boy George. The rest is history.