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Death In Soho

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Album Review

When punk reared its gloriously ugly head in 1976, this new movement inspired young kids to pick up instruments and form their own punk bands. It also inspired some of the seasoned pub rockers to abandon their greasy R&B and play louder, faster and harder. Bands like the Vibrators and 999 featured bandmembers who came from the latter category, but you would never have guessed it by actually listening to their blistering, melodic punk nuggets. The only thing that separated them from the young upstarts is that they could actually play their instruments and were able to write punk anthems that were purposely catchy. Now, 30 years after their initial debut, 999 continue to crank out simplistic yet anthemic punk rock that still sounds fresh, energetic, and fun. And, best of all, the band has been able to maintain one of the most consistent lineups in rock history: Nick Cash and Guy Days still crank the guitars and sing while Pablo Labritain is still pounding away on the skins. The "new kid", bassist Arturo Bassick (the Lurkers), has been holding down that position for well over a decade, so he is already part of the band's well-oiled machine. Death in Soho is the band's first studio album since the most excellent Takeover from 1998 and is a welcome return for a band that has continued to carry the punk flag for 30-plus years. While some of the songs don't match up to Takeover's fine mix of classics-in-the-making, it still stands as a testament to the band's talent. Engineered by former Vibrator Pat Collier, Death in Soho sounds "alive" and electric. Many of the tracks sound like they could have come straight off of the band's late-'70s albums: "The System," "Last Breath," "Stealing Beauty," "Innocent," "The Avenue," and "Gimme the World" are prime 999 filled with energy and great hooks. Only "Horror Story" falls flat and fails to deliver, although it's probably a great live crowd pleaser. Now that the band have delivered another fine album, do we really have to wait another ten years for the next one? ~ Steve "Spaz" Schnee, Rovi


Formed: May, 1977

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the longest-lived groups of the punk era, 999 formed in London in December 1976. Led by vocalist/guitarist Nick Cash, a onetime student at the Canterbury College of Art under the tutelage of Ian Dury and a former member of the pub rock units Kilburn and the High Roads, the band also included guitarist Guy Days, bassist Jon Watson, and drummer Pablo LaBrittain. After dispensing with a series of names -- including 48 Hours, the Fanatics, and the Dials -- 999 quickly established themselves as...
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Death In Soho, 999
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