An Interesting Re-Release
This CD is in fact a re-release of the original debut LP from 1979 of the same name. Included in this version are eight bonus tracks also previously not available on CD and some interesting and often amusing, liner notes as singer Nicky Tesco talks frankly and personally about each track on the record from the band's perspective.
Although this may have been released in 1979 the recordings still sound fresh today. The Members have a raw sleazy energy which pervades the album and drags you into the bleak dirty London suburbs supposedly inhabited by the band and described in many of the songs. Lyrically the album serves as a snapshot of life in the late 70s and early 80s as lived through the eyes of a punk rock band. It is reminiscent of the work of Mike Skinner today, both insightful and tongue in cheek. The parallels are drawn even closer on 'Solitary Confinement', originally a single and one of the stand out tracks on the album, where Tesco speak-raps his testament to modern life.
The Members' sound could be described as somewhere between The Clash and The Specials with elements of The Streets and The Slackers thrown in. At first it can be quite difficult to get into, but once you give it the time and skip past the instrumental, and frankly uneventful, opening track you begin to appreciate the slow almost menacing enthusiasm that underlies every song.
The guitars wouldn't be out of place on a Kooks or Arctic Monkeys record with jangley riffs interspersed with typical offbeat ska patterns and some well placed solos. You should listen out for some dual guitar harmonies reminiscent of classic Thin Lizzy and even a quirky slide steel guitar solo on Frustrated Bagshot. The only thing that sets this record apart from the modern indie crowd is the vocals: although unashamedly cockney and growled, the production is a lot less in your face and the tuning hasn't been altered!
This CD would be an asset in any Member's fan's collection as some of the rare tracks it includes are better than the original album including the single version of 'Rat Up a Drainpipe' and reggae and dub versions of 'Offshore Banking Business' which oozes with Caribbean flavour. The quality of songs on At The Chelsea Nightclub varies but out of the 19 tracks you should find at least 8 to 10 that you like.