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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mega city Four - Tranzophobia

This 1989 debut album release from Farnborough's (that's the Hampshire one) finest, Mega City Four, is a magnificently vibrant slice of post-punk. Sound-wise, the band (for me, at least) have definite echoes of some of the finest punk (OK, those with more of a pop edge) bands, namely, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and (even at times) The Ramones. As with a good deal of music from the punk era (and its immediate aftermath) Mega City Four's sound admittedly has relatively little variation, but, of course, The Ramones' early material dispelled any notion that this was a requirement for musical invigoration and/or excellence. What the MC4 (as distinct from the MC5, I guess) did have, however, was a tight rhythm section overlain with Danny Brown's pulsating guitar and brother Darren's (known as Wiz and sadly deceased in 2006) soaring vocal, delivering a series of unadulterated, infectious pop songs.

First up, there are no weak songs on Tranzophobia, pretty much everything has a memorable hook. Subject-wise, the songs deal with the common (punk/indie) music themes of youth angst and rebellion, disillusion with authority and failed relationships. My album favourites would certainly include Paper Tiger, a story of parental rejection penned to possibly the most exquisite melody on the album, Things I Never Said (with its Jimmy, Jimmy-like opening), the classic tale of youth and political disaffection, Occupation, the most overtly political song here about the troubles in Northern Ireland, and Alternative Arrangements, with its infectious (off-)beat and tale of shattered romantic illusions. But, of course, the album standout has to be that tale of youthful realisation, the rollercoaster that is Severe Attack Of The Truth, with its initial battle cry of, 'Stop your grinning and drop your linen'. Marvellous stuff.

Pride And Prejudice
Severe Attack Of The Truth
Paper Tiger
Twenty One Again
On Another Planet
Things I Never Said
New Years Day
Alternative Arrangements
What You've Got
Stupid Way To Die

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