"The Early Years"

(Golf reissue)

01. Town Hall
02. Motörhead
03. Swallow It
04. Death Pact
05. Give It Up
06. This Thing Called Progress/In My Headache
07. Soldiers Junk
08. Think Twice
09. Bounce the Rubble
10. All Right
11. Underage
12. Castration
13. Pure Hate
14. Young Lord
15. Typical
16. Spy
17. (I Hate) Reggae
18. Ugly American
19. Bounce the Rubble/All Right
20. Rich Get Richer
21. Pure Hate
22. Thorn In My Side

RATING: 7.5/10

"This one's about all you masculine punks out there," snorts frontman Jerry A before a characteristically off-the-rails live rendition of their song "Typical". In that one announcement, everything that was so perversely lovable about the enduring Portland punks shines through.

Despite the general perception that their world was viewed exclusively through the bottom of a sour mash bottle, POISON IDEA were a very astute band, railing against the price of progress, poverty, macho crap (see above) and the general stricken underbelly of society. Beyond that, they did, of course, fucking rock — which is more than evident in this re-issued compilation of studio and live material from the early eighties (originally released through Bitzcore Records in 1994), before the world at large got to discover their, well, largeness (let's just say you wouldn't want Jerry A or mountainous guitarist Pig Champion testing the springs of your sofa).

As is the way with such things, urgency is everything and if you're looking to hear every guitar squeal and snare crack, then you'll be lucky to latch onto anything here. The production is as rough as a bear's arse, and from the opening chords of their "Anarchy In The UK" spoof intro preceding "Town Hall", to the manic thrashing of "Young Lord", no song is left to sit for too long before another comes along to barge it through the exit door. Fair enough, in this state many of the songs sound interchangeable, but it pays to take the songs as one whole ramshackle blur as intended. They also put the POISON IDEA stamp of belligerence on a cover of MOTÖRHEAD's "Motörhead", which is as scuzzy in their hands as the original was in its own right.

In the years following this compilation, their recordings became less gloriously chaotic and band tensions led to them splitting in the mid-Nineties. But they're back now and treading boards around the globe. So make sure you catch 'em in the (ample) flesh.


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