Vinyl, Tape and CD Reviews

Beggars can be Choosers - Razor Records Raz 6 - Melody Maker November 19th 1983.


Reviewed by Carol Clerk

The brazen aggression, the defiant urgency and the uncompromising political campaigns of the Newtown Neurotics onstage little prepared me for what I was to find on this album.
We always knew these guys had their hearts in the right places, but the surprising subtleties in all areas of their recorded work here show that their heads aren't too far from their shoulders either.
The lead guitar, bass and drums were apparently not aiming to set fire to the studios in a blaze of noise as the Neurotics set about immortalising their manifesto.
Rather, they submitted themselves to a series of textured arrangements that have allowed for emphasis in all the right places and ensured decipherable vocals throughout the album.
The headstrong chording and bellowing, effective enough live, now stands back to afford a more comprehensive blend of elements: the almost Beatle-ish guitar jangles of certain songs; the softly stated backing vocals; the patterns of reggae interlocked with straight rock on " Newtown People"; the essential spirit of Seventies punk; and, as always, the topical issues of the Eighties.

We all know where the Newtown Neurotics put their cross on election day. We're well informed of their general contempt for Conservative Britain, their dream of concerted retaliation and their more localised exasperation at the newtown mentality as experienced in their own Harlow.
These topics are predictably covered in songs like "Get Up And Fight", the rumbustiously tuneful, Members initiated "Living With Unemployment" and the aforementioned "Newtown People" (all of which exhibit flashes of wit and irony that I'd never before discovered in the band).
However, the lyrics provide numerous other flavours of gum to chew on, the groups investigations of personal, emotional and sexual politics taking in everything from bouncers at gigs ("Life In Their Hands"), misdirected emotions ("Agony"), hedonism ("The Mess") and sexism ("No Respect"- a song of double standards that confounded three members of the Sounds third-form debating society who reviewed this album and, incidentally, decided for me that I wouldn't like it).

The Neurotics look around them. They'd like to see honesty,commitment, compassion, tolerance, self-respect and sense. They'd like to live in an ideal world with a fair deal for everyone.
Instead they see festering images of a rotten humanity reflected in the big glass windows of their concrete Harlow, and that's what they're offering for our consideration and discussion on an album that's unexpectedly mature and, potentially, very enduring.


Now here's the review refered to above on the same album, but by the good people at Sounds
( try to guess who* of the three reviewer's superb talents were later spotted by that excellent newspaper The Sun )
, read on.........

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Simon Lomond-Demon Drummer with a smile like a frog