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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - The Vibrators: The Albums 1985-1990 [5CD]
Artist - The Vibrators

For those unaware, covering all of the albums the band released for Revolver Records, The Albums 1985-1990 is a five CD, 63 track clamshell box set from Punk legends The Vibrators.

The Vibrators were founded by Ian Knox Carnochan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis, and drummer John ‘Eddie’ Edwards. They first came to public notice at the 100 Club when they backed Chris Spedding in 1976.

On Spedding’s recommendation, Mickie Most signed them to his label RAK Records. Most produced their first single, We Vibrate and the band also backed Spedding on his single, Pogo Dancing.

The Vibrators recorded sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in October 1976, June 1977, and February 1978 and were also one of the pioneering punk bands that played at London’s Roxy Club.

They headlined in January 1977, supported by the Drones, and in February they played twice at the venue. In March 1977, the band supported Iggy Pop on his British tour and later that year, they backed ex-Mott the Hoople front man Ian Hunter.

The band signed to Epic Records in early 1977. Their debut album, Pure Mania was co-produced with Robin Mayhew, the sound engineer for David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust live shows, and reached the top 50 of the UK Albums Chart.

Their follow-up album, V2, narrowly missed the UK top 30. The only single to be taken from that album, Automatic Lover, was the only Vibrators’ single to reach the UK top 40 where it reached #35 (and also earnt the band a TV appearance on the prime-time TV show Top of the Pops).

The Vibrators’ final single on Epic, Judy Says (Knock You in the Head), was released in June 1978 and reached #70 on the UK Singles Chart. Years later it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.

A lack of further chart activity, and with only one UK top 40 single to their credit, saw the Vibrators join the list of one-hit wonders; a list that includes other UK punk and new wave acts such as the Banned, the Flying Lizards, Jilted John, 999, the Radio Stars, and the Rich Kids.

During the 1980s, John Ellis recorded with Peter Gabriel, as well as recording and touring frequently with Peter Hammill, then subsequently the Stranglers, eventually joining the latter full-time in the 1990s.

Pat Collier went on to work closely with the Soft Boys, producing their seminal album Underwater Moonlight, and Robyn Hitchcock, producing and mixing some of his solo albums (to which Knox also sometimes contributed).

Phil Ram went on to form Able Ram and brought out two singles, Disco in Moscow and Hope We Make It, although without any chart success. Despite numerous line-up changes, the Vibrators are still touring to this day as a three-piece, with Eddie being the only original member.

Disc One: Live (1985)
1. Automatic Lover
2. Amphetamine Blue
3. Rip Up The City
4. Baby Blue Eyes
5. Blown Away By Love
6. Baby Baby
7. Troops Of Tomorrow
8. Crazy Dream
9. Fall In Love
10. Sweet Sweet Heart
11. Whips And Furs
12. Judy Says
13. Yeah Yeah Yeah
14. Keep It Clean

Disc One is the band’s first ever live album that includes acknowledged Punk classic like Baby Baby, Automatic Lover and Troops Of Tomorrow along with the hit singles Automatic Lover (#35) and Judy Says (#70).

A right royal live treat from start to finish, the band are on true form here as they relentlessly plow through 14 of their hits and beloved stage favorites.

Disc Two: Recharged (1988)
1. String Him Along
2. Hey Little Doll
3. I Don’t Trust You
4. Go Go Go
5. Hey Nonny No / Picture Of You
6. Every Day I Die A Little
7. Too Dumb
8. Rip It Up, Tear It Up
9. Someone Stole My Heart
10. Electricity
11. Tight Black Jeans
12. Reach For That Star
13. Disco In Mosco (Live) [Bonus Track]

The second disc is 1988’s Recharged album which features the single String Him Along plus now a bonus track in the form of a live version of Disco In Moscow.

In my humble opinion, Recharged is an improvement over Fifth Amendment but, and overall musically, the band are certainly not recharged sorry.

That said, Recharged has several likeable songs and Knox is always great, but this album is for completists, that’s for sure. In and of itself, this is not a bad album, but by The Vibrators standards, it is still not one of their stronger efforts (although Hey Little Doll is a nice lil’ raver!).

Disc Three: Meltdown (1988)
1. Office Girls
2. Don’tcha Lean On Me
3. So Young
4. Speedtrap
5. The Other Side Of Midnight
6. Cruel To You
7. U 238
8. Dynamite
9. Letting You Go
10. Danger Street
11. Let’s Go
12. Baby
13. The Sally Gardens
14. Wasted Life [Bonus Track]

Disc Three is the Meltdown album which now adds the previously non-LP Wasted Life as a bonus track.

Well, another year, another Vibrators album and whilst you have to admire their tenacity and persistence, you’ve got to wonder about the market for this kind of stuff at that time.

In a musical landscape shifting beneath their very feet as they careened into the nineties, and the dance music that would spring from it, The Vibrators still chose to double down on what they new best.

Thus Meltdown was indeed just that with regard the musical output, but the fact it was unrelenting in its compliance to bow out gracefully from the decade, meant that it went off (albeit not silently) into the great blue yonder to fend for its non-spotlighted self.

Disc Four: Vicious Circle (1989)
1. No Getting Over You
2. Poll Tax Blues
3. I Don’t Wanna Fall
4. Rocket Ride To Heaven
5. Count On Me
6. Slow Death
7. Fire
8. Halfway To Paradise
9. Ruby’s Gotta Heart
10. Don’t Trust Anyone
11. No Mercy
12. Work
13. Drive [Bonus Track]

The fourth disc is 1989’s Vicious Circle album which features the Halfway To Paradise single and the rare bonus B-side Drive.

Yet another of the Vibrators’ average-to-less releases for Revolver Records in the late ’80s and, yet again, although still doing it all their way, this album still had nothing new to say (or anything of any real lyrical substance, sorry).

Disc Five: Volume Ten (1990)
1. Losing It
2. Hot For You
3. Rave On
4. Wonderful World
5. Out Of My System
6. Cartel
7. Video Girl
8. Hey America
9. Rain Time
10. World In Your Hands
11. Don’tcha Know Now
12. Can’t Have It All
13. Commanche

The final disc is the band’s tenth album, fittingly called Volume Ten and is a wholly likeable enough 13-track recordings with many descent pop punk tunes in place.

As great as The Vibrators were, this album was released during a down period for the band, which admittedly ran through several albums, but that said, this album is actually an entertaining set for fans (but would still be ranked in the lower quartile of this iconic band’s output, in truth).

The booklet contains detailed liner notes overseen by founding member Jon ‘Eddie’ Edwards and is a follow-up on two successful Captain Oi! box-sets by the band, THE EPIC YEARS and THE ALBUMS 1979-85.

Official 5CD Purchase Link