CHARGED G.B.H - City Baby Attacked By Rats - LP
Britain's G.B.H. exemplified what happened after the promise of 1977 punk and post-punk petered out: faster, fuzzier tempos that incorporated lightning-fast guitar licks and a greater volume to put the point across. The mingling of Marshall stacks and "screw you" attitudes has often made for an uneasy marriage -- as the endless debates in fanzines like Maximumocknroll show -- but it's undeniably potent when wielded in the right hands. G.B.H.'s rude and crude debut showed the band to be some distance from that goal, which hardly bothered the listeners who propelled it to number 17 on the U.K. charts in 1982. The band tackles its material with admirably single-minded zeal: Most tracks make their point in two minutes or less. Urban ills are the dominant inspiration for the oft-anthologized "Sick Boy" and "Time Bomb," while "No Survivors" reflects Cold War-era fears of nuclear confrontation. The band's inspiration owes as much to films like A Clockwork Orange as its '80s inner-city environment. A garishly violent streak runs through tracks like "Gunned Down," "Passenger on the Menu," and "The Prayer of a Realist" -- while the equally mindless "Slut" and "Big Women" take aim at women who criticize the band. Many of G.B.H.'s subsequent outings have been dedicated to refining this template, with greater or lesser forays into metal. All this relentless velocity can be considered bracing, or numbing; if you can look past the minimal chord changes and repetitive structures, it's pretty impressive stuff. That's the hallmark of an acquired taste, so proceed accordingly.