COCK SPARRER: England Belongs to Me: CD

A compendium of their early singles, this release also serves as an interesting document of the evolution of this long-running band. The earlier tracks owe more than a little to the pub rock sound that was prevalent when the band started back in the ’70s and, as the disc progresses, you can hear the development of the hard, yet very poppy sound for which they are known. Toward the end, the listener is also treated to a lesson that plagued many English punk bands (Adicts, SLF, Angelic Upstarts) during the ’80s: overproduction can ruin even the best song. Still, this is more than worth the price of admission just to hear early versions of classics like “Running Riot,” “Argy Bargy,” “Working,” and a great live cover of the Clash’s “White Riot.”

 –jimmy (Taang, 706 Pismo Ct., San Diego, CA 92109)