We’ve spent quite a lot of time in 1967 recently. (Running tally here)
Time to pogo forward ten years to 1977 and one of the ‘first wave’ punk bands, The Vibrators.
Pure Mania was released in June 1977
Is it ‘true’ punk?
There is some debate amongst sad (now middle-aged) former punks as to whether The Vibrators were ‘legit’ punk, despite them having performed with the Sex Pistols in 1976, played at the 100 Club, and supported Iggy Pop in 1977. Then there are those who demand proper punk involves as many bodily fluids as possible. Looking at the front cover of my copy, I think we can tick off the ‘nasty stains’ category.
Does the cover use a punk mash-up of different typefaces?
See cover photo above. The album title mixes it up while the songs display a range of typefaces.
Does it hate the present?
First track is “Into the Future”. Sample lyrics:
I want a new world, I want it with you
I’ll build a new tomorrow
So don’t you be a pain in the ass
Any interesting factoids about the band?
Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers took their name from The Vibrators song, track 5, side 2 of this album.
Stripped down sound?
Basic four-piece line-up. Most songs three chords and mid- to fast-paced.
The cover shows three out of four members are wearing black leather jackets, following the rock ’n’ roll rebel without a cause aesthetic. The back cover photos have a Polaroid / Instamatic feel.
Are the songs short?
Here’s the breakdown.
Of the fifteen songs:
5 are under two minutes. In anyone’s language, that’s getting in and out fast.
8 are between two and three minutes.
3 breach the three-minute barrier
So the album is short too?
Fifteen songs in under 35 minutes. ‘Nuff said.
“Bad time” / “No heart” (March ’77)
“Baby baby” / “Into the future” (May ’77)
Neither did squat, but the album clawed its way into the Top 50. Just.
Still, “Baby baby” is a mid-paced classic. My favourite: “No heart”. Magnificent.
Well, hard day out, working at the mill
When I come in I’m feeling pretty ill.
“Kiss me, honey” is what I said
She wanna watch television instead.
Did the band burn out in a proper punk way?
Not exactly. A version of The Vibrators is touring in 2017—2018. More at their website.
So, is it punk?
Who gives a fuck? It’s jump-start amphetamine fuelled rackety rock ’n’ roll. When you get to the end you want to flip it over and spin it again. As Johnny Rotten frequently observed, Wot’s in a name? That which we call a punk by any other name would smell as sweaty. Eh, Romeo?