DOCTOR AND THE CRIPPENS: Fired from the Circus: 2 x LP/CD

Once again, Boss Tuneage raids the archives to bring some 1980s punk rock goodness into the new millennium. This time it’s Doctor And The Crippens, a band best described as being utterly bonkers. With an approach that rarely settled on one method of delivery, this band was capable of taking the same USHC-influenced path that The Stupids trod, mixing it with the occasional Lemmy-like vocal and applying the same ferociousness that helped Discharge define a whole new genre, thus dispensing an enjoyable racket. However, the crowning glories are the lyrics/song titles, which, to this day, have me questioning the sanity of whoever wrote them and which confirm that earlier description. Plus there were exploding cabbages—okay, maybe not on record—but in a live setting this would be one of many unusual effects employed to add a sense of occasion to a Doctor And The Crippens show. This release brings together the band’s first album, a twelve track John Peel Session, and some assorted demos and live recordings. What is noticeable is how the Peel recordings lost some of the raw quality of the album but in its place added a much more powerful sound—this was the case with many bands thrown into far superior surroundings than any had been privy to in the past. For me this release benefits from two versions of my favorite Crippens track, “Freezer,” with the Peel version having a much more melodic quality than one would expect from a band heavily influenced by noisier contemporaries. I would say half of the twenty-three tracks on the album stand the test of time, whereas the Peel Session is worth the price of the album alone.

 –Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)