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When the Punks Go Marching In

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Album Review

Abrasive Wheels' debut album took its bow in November 1982, a seething riposte not only against the incumbent Thatcherite government, but also those critics who insisted on labeling the band an Oi! act, when they most clearly resembled the Clash and the Jam. That said, the opening "Vicious Circle" is street punk at its most frenetic — imagine Discharge played by the Toy Dolls — and the succeeding "1982" offers no respite either. But the ironically titled "Just Another Punk Band" shows the Wheels in their true colors, with Phil "Shonna" Rzonca's vocals in full angry Strummer mode, and the band filling in around his vitriol with as much drama as determination. It's a very youthful-sounding album, littered with barely concealed influences (the "Holidays in the Sun" guitar on "First Rule [No Rule]" is a dead giveaway), but there's no denying either the quality or the fervency of the music and, by the time you hit the title track, a partial take on the old "When the Saints Go Marching In," exhaustion is the least of your emotions. [Some reissues add eight bonus tracks, including single mixes, B-sides, and the complete The Army Song EP that debuted the band the previous year.]

When the Punks Go Marching In, Abrasive Wheels
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