Germ Free Adolescents

Germ Free Adolescents

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Music CD - 2005
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Publisher: London : Castle Music, p2005.
Branch Call Number: P
Characteristics: 1 sound disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

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GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS (1978) was not released in the United States for more than 20 years after it first appeared in the UK. What is great about this 2005 reissue is that it contains all the singles and the Peel Sessions. So what you are getting is the definitive extant X-Ray Spex recordings. X-Ray Spex was a Poly Styrene vehicle. She put the band together after seeing the Sex Pistols perform in Hastings the summer of 1976 and the band quickly fell apart when she left in 1979, burnt out from the exigencies of the popular music industry, touring and promotion. Poly Styrene née Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, who died of cancer at the age of 53 in April of 2011, was part Scotch-Irish and part Somali. She ran away from home as a teenager to live the life of a Hippie. Prior to her Sex Pistols conversion, she put out a record in 1976 as Mari Elliot that was produced by Falcon Stuart. Falcon Stuart produced GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS as well, while Poly Styrene wrote all its songs. And what I took away from my immersion in the album this past week is Falcon Stuart, or whoever did the sound engineering, did a fantastic job. Despite the fact that it is garage rock Punk and therefore has that monaural, bleached quality, the high end of Styrene's vocals most of the time is in perfect balance with Rudi Thompson's saxophone, which simultaneously occupies the low end vocal range. So what is created is a steady sonic wave. I find it quite unique. Then there is the uniqueness of Styrene's anti-consumerist invective. The entire record is a sustained bombardment directed at the artificiality and alienation of capitalist society as actually lived by a human being. I can't think of another first wave Punk album that is anywhere near as focused and consistent in its message. GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS is a Punk document because it doesn't hold out the possibility of a New World, a Hippie retreat to a pasture in the sun or a rock'n'roll revolution where sexual liberation will provide happiness for everyone and the kids are alright. No, it wades out into the plastic muck and says, "Take a look! This is all we are."

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