Monday, September 27, 2010

By Simon Reynolds
(Faber & Faber)

It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? As musical cycles go, the last few years has seen the re-emergence of post punk 20 years after it faded away as bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Editors, Kaiser Chiefs, Stellastarr*, the Killers et al begin to dominate the airwaves and the modern rock landscape.

Thus, Simon Reynolds’ tome on that particular golden age (1978-1984), is certainly timely… and timing is everything.

Speaking of timing, that era is special to me as it was about the time that I began seriously collecting albums and buying rock magazines, in particular the British kind e.g. NME, Sounds, Record Mirror. So reading Rip It Up and Start Again was a satisfying and nostalgic ride.

That said, Simon Reynolds’ evaluation of what was worthy of inclusion in this book probably coincides rather faithfully with what the NME was championing in those halcyon days. Therefore, the likes of PiL, Throbbing Gristle, Joy Division, the Fall, Gang of Four, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu, The Pop Group etc get loads of attention whilst personal favourites of mine (e.g. XTC, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Police etc) get very short shrift. So, déjà vu then…

Other than that reservation, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who may want to know more about the roots of the current revival. Not only that, it is a wonderful introduction to many obscure bands that deserve closer examination like The Associates, Magazine, Japan, Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma (who have a new album out!), Minutemen etc. A-

(from 2006)

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