"This CD reissue of Power In The Darkness contains many extra tracks making it in effect a Best Of or Greatest Hits collection of the Tom Robinson Band. It is aggressive rock straight out of the heyday of punk when the Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie & The Banshees were making waves in the UK. Opening with the anthem Up Against The Wall, it takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride through the politics of those times, mercifully interspersed with some pure love songs and a dash of humor here and there. Gray Cortina and 2-4-6-8 Motorway are great rocking car songs whilst the protest number Better Decide Which Side You're On sounds dated now and Glad To Be Gay, probably Robinson's most famous anthem, has aged well. Power In The Darkness is basically a repetitive chant wbut there's a ver funny speech in the middle which still cracks me up after all these years. The song Now Martin's Gone dates from a couple of years later, in the 1980s, when his sound had changed considerably into a pop direction. The music isn't particularly innovative, it's just good old rock infused with anger, but Robinson's contribution is valuable for the great songs he created. Fans of artists like The Clash, The Jam, The Sex Pistols and The Stranglers will appreciate Power In The Darkness."
Play It Loud
Chris Ward | Costa Rica | 05/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a gem from the late 70s. This was recorded in a raw white heat by angry energetic young men with a lot to say, and the engineering by Chris Thomas is sharp and crisp-- it sounds great on CD, LOUD. Some of the politics may be out-dated, but not much of it-- the anger against authority is just as fresh as when it was recorded a quarter-century ago. It's more pop than punk, but has a punk sensibility in its visceral power. Buy it and play it loud on a summer day-- you'll find yourself singing along (even on "Glad to be Gay," no matter your orientation)."
Protest-Rock: Confrontational and Ferocious
dev1 | Baltimore | 08/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"He's here, he's [gay], and he's in your face. Power In The Darkness recalls the memorable words of that Great American Philosopher, Jerry Seinfeld, who once said "I'm not one. Not that there's anything wrong with it." Even if you discard 'Glad To Be A Bugger,' Power In The Darkness contains more than enough confrontation and hang-the-king material to appease the most ferocious rock hound. The album rocks-on like an out of control Metro train with a cocaine-crazed driver at the controls (hey, that happens weekly in Baltimore). Robinson is seething with frustration, and rather than "sing," he spits-out venomous lyrics with a heavy British accident. Lines such as "yer best mate getting paki-bashed" makes absolutely no sense to me, but what the heck: the message is secondary to the delivery, and Robinson boils over with vigor.The band is as contentious as the MC5 and the Sex Pistols (Ain't Gonna Take It, Right On Sister). The rhythm guitar work is technically simple, but filthy (and that's good) - see 'Long Hot Summer,' 'The Winter Of '79,' and '2-4-6-8 Motorway.' Turn up 'Don't Take No For An Answer,' and the machine gun drumming will shake the baby right out of the crib. 'Martin' is a sissy sing-along, but I wouldn't repeat the word "sissy" in front of this live audience. They're quite an enthusiastic lot.Buddy, if you're going to do Protest-Rock you'd best better be sincere because I can smell pretension a mile away. I haven't paid any attention to politics in rock for the past three decades. Tell me, how does a rock star (unlike Robinson) sitting in his mansion in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean write about government hypocrisy? I just don't buy it, but I do buy Tom Robinson - hook, line and stinker."
Punkish Rock approaching Perfecttion...
S. Koropeckyj | The Bright Side of the Moon | 05/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know where I heard of Tom Robinson Band, but now that I have, I immediately recommend hsi music to anyone who might like it. It is uncomprimisingly political, but light-hearted at the same time. Tom Robinson's musical and lyrical talent shines through what is, for all intents and purpose, a punk rock record, splicing the three chord choruses with adequate guitar solos.
2-4-6-8 Motorway, was I think the first song that I ever heard by Tom Robinson and immediately after hearing it, I needed to hear more. The song's hook is unforgettable in its simplicity. Grey Cortina follows in the car theme, and is equally catchy. Power in the Darkness and Winter of '79 are rather political songs, but sense of humour is not lost in the monologue in Power in the Darkness. Up Against the Wall sounds like a punk song, both because of lyrical content and symplistic song structure.
Almost ever song on this records is memorable, catchy, and, a right down to it, good song. Though the album is in no way ground-breaking, Tom Robinson's voice gives it a unique tinge, something that let's us differentiate between TRB and ever other mediocre band of the time."
Great Punk Classic!
Chuck Potocki | Highland, Indiana | 10/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Robinson was (and still is to this day) a fervent and outspoken advocate for many causes--rebelling against established authority in the UK (particularly in his disdain for then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher), a campaigner for gay rights, and so forth. With the 1978 release of "Power In The Darkness", Robinson and the band appeared seemingly from out of nowhere and threw the UK punk scene on it's ear with their poppish yet powerful debut single, the lost classic "2-4-6-8 Motorway". The album contains the then-controversial "Glad To Be Gay", which despite being banned by the BBC, was a hit on the UK charts. The song describes in angry and graphic detail, the bigotry and violence aimed against homosexuals; but underneath the hatred and indifference reflected in the song, Robinson urged listeners to be proud and "sing if you're glad to be gay/sing if you're happy that way"; a theme every bit as relevant now as it was in 1978.But Robinson and his songs weren't all about grandstanding for political and social issues--the track "Grey Cortina" is about his quest to someday own a souped-up Ford Cortina; the aforementioned "2-4-6-8 Motorway" is straightforward rock n' roll about cruising the motorways with the early morning sun in your eyes (and picking up a couple of hitchhikers along the way); "Don't Take No For An Answer" is a scathing, thinly-veiled attack against The Kinks' Ray Davies, describing Robinson's ill-fated association with Davies' record label, Konk in the early 70's); and also a bit of humor on my favorite track, "Martin", about a boyhood friend--listening to Robinson sing the song in his hilarious mock-Cockney accent, and the crowd interaction during the chorus (in call-and-response segments, the crowd shouts out "Martin" whenever Robinson does, causing him to laugh a few times), give the track a funny and lighthearted charm.If you want to hear some furious but melodic British punk rock, performed with a no-holds-barred, damn-it-all attitude, look no further than this classic album; it's now currently out of print, but if you can find a copy somewhere, BUY IT! You won't be disappointed!"