Search - Physicals :: Skulduggery

Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

UK reissue from punk's first super group. The lineup consisted of Alan Lee Shaw (Maniacs), John Towe (Chelsea/Generation X), Alvin Gibbs (Users/UK Subs) & Paul Cook (Sex Pistols). Featuring 17 power slabs of energy & m...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Physicals
Title: Skulduggery
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Overground Records
Release Date: 4/27/1999
Album Type: Import
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Style: Hardcore & Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 652160008022, 766488808926


Album Description
UK reissue from punk's first super group. The lineup consisted of Alan Lee Shaw (Maniacs), John Towe (Chelsea/Generation X), Alvin Gibbs (Users/UK Subs) & Paul Cook (Sex Pistols). Featuring 17 power slabs of energy & melody, new wave with a hint of glam, metal & punk. Taken from singles, demos from 1978 & 79 & two live tracks.

CD Reviews

Punk fans, don't let this one get away!
Ralph Heibutzki | SE Michigan, USA | 09/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm glad this material has been released: it's a fascinating look at a band that never got its due, mainly because the critics who'd embraced the big names (Clash, Damned, Sex Pistols, etc.) were writing it off by 1979. In some ways, that's true, because the heavyweights were either breaking up, or drastically changing their sound; in other ways, though, it's not, since many of the lesser-known groups were playing regularly, and releasing the odd album or EP, when circumstances allowed.

Even then, the Physicals sounded markedly different from the '76 era "1-2-3-4, go" template -- glammier, without veering off into metal, as you can see on their ALL SEXED UP EP, which opens this CD. "Breakdown On Stage" name-checks the New York Dolls, while "You Do Me In" is a slow burner with nice, crunchy guitar work (uplifted by a surprising uptempo ending). In fact, of the four EP tracks, only "No Life In The City" could be considered punk, but it's as brash and sassy as its companions.

Then it's off to the other Physicals' official release, the "Be Like Me"/"Pain In Love" single -- which sat on the shelves for a year...what a crying shame! "Be Like Me" sounds like a great lost Sex Pistols tune, right down to the guitar sound (Steve Jones was too busy to participate), and (of course) Paul Cook's deft, crisp drumming. "Pain In Love" is slower, but stands on its own, thanks to Alan Lee Shaw's wall of guitars.

The 11 remaining unreleased tracks, however, are the centerpiece of this gem, and pretty impressive. My favorites are "Crying In The Alley," and "I Got A Feeling," which sound like mid-era Iggy to me -- especially the shuddering vocals -- but they're solid, no-frills, no-nonsense tracks. What's especially neat is how Shaw cuts off the guitar, and brings it back in suddenly, giving the music more power and space to breathe. (As a guitar player myself, I've come to realize -- it ain't what you put in, it's what you leave out, that matters.) I also like "The Weight's On Me," whose guitar sound reminds me of the Clash (circa GIVE 'EM ENOUGH ROPE), and "Time's Up," for the jangly, distorted tone that drives it to the finish line.

You also get two live cuts: a breathless rush through Iggy Pop's "Lust for Live," and an anthemic, slammin', midtempo original, "Should Have Been You," which boasts a classic fist-waver of a chorus. (If there's more live material of this caliber, I would definitely suggest another Physicals reissue!) The '60s garage covers ("Talk Talk," "Get Me To The World On Time," "Engine Of Romance") are also great fun, and well worth your attention.

Although the Physicals' lifetime output only consisted of half a dozen tracks, they definitely weren't underachievers, and could have gone to greater glory -- if they hadn't been undone, like so many other second-division bands, by a withering of the original punk scene (read: fewer venues to play), and the usual mindless, carnivorous record company/business shenanigans. (Shaw is still around, though, having most recently played with the Damned, and the power trio, Mischief, whose own album is a totally different story...and review!) A lot of punk reissues fall flat, because of the material, or the execution -- but this release isn't one of them. Now you've been told: DON'T LET THIS ONE GET AWAY!