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Evacuate

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Album Review

Three years after their debut, and six years after their formation, Chelsea finally got around to releasing their second all-new album, a brutal collision of proto-punk neuroses and post-punk betrayal — by 1982, after all, the world had moved onto far brighter things than the monochrome mayhem that Gene October still espoused; had given up fighting for its rights long before. Once the leader of 100,000 punk rock shock troops, October was now a solitary voice in the wilderness, and Evacuate is the sound of isolated defiance, a roar that is all the more amplified by the lack of answering echoes. The title track, a single at the tail end of the previous year, and the pensively titled (but viciously incendiary) "Only Thinking" bookend the original album with all the savagery for which Chelsea's live show was still renowned; in between times, "Tribal Song" and "War Across the Nation" detail October's own ruminations on the state of things, decrying youth's preoccupation with private cults and fashions, when it should be united once more in the spirit that made punk the first credible threat to the establishment since the initial years of rock & roll. A generous eight bonus tracks, meanwhile, wrap up the wealth of singles and B-sides that took Chelsea through the preceding 12 months, including the dynamic "Freemans" and the quixotic "Stand Out," which turned out to be the last words of this latest incarnation of the group. Within weeks of its October 1982 release, the band would have shattered once again.

Evacuate, Chelsea
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