I don’t think it would be unduly untoward for me to state that the Vibrators haven’t felt like a vital, going concern to me since they left Epic Records in 1978 ((“Amphetamine Blue” and a few other standout tracks from the last thirty-four years or so notwithstanding)). Out of the twenty or so albums the band released since then, the only one i’ve actually purchased was Fucking Punk ‘77 a few years ago, which was basically them playing old punk covers ((including their own stuff)), seemingly underscoring my point. This time, they’ve recorded mainly new originals ((plus remakes of their own “Baby Baby,” “Whips and Furs,” and “Automatic Lover”—in case you didn’t catch the remakes a few years ago on Fucking Punk ‘77 i reckon)), with the twist being that they’ve enlisted a shit-ton of guest guitar players to do solos for them—Walter Lure, Wayne Kramer, Brian James, Ross the Boss, Stan Lee, Hugh Cornwell, Chris Spedding, Ty Segall. And, while i gotta admit that it’s kind of fun to see who’s playing on the song, then eagerly awaiting their guest solo, sitting around waiting for guitar solos isn’t really at the top of my list of things i wanna be doing when I’m listening to a punk album. I guess if you enjoyed Knox’s guest appearance on Die Toten Hosen’s cover of “Baby Baby” on 1991’s Learning English, Lesson One, you’ll surely thrill to the Die Toten Hosen guitarist’s guest solo on “Baby Baby” here. It’s worth a listen, but if you can sit all the way through it without the phrase “twenty-second album by a two-album band” periodically blinking into and out of your consciousness, you got way more Zen than i got. BEST SONG THAT HASN’T BEEN RECORDED FORTY-EIGHT TIMES BEFORE: “Rain to Town.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Birdland Is Closed.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Nigel Bennett uses PRS® guitars and Marshall™ amplification. Eddie uses Avedis Zildjian® cymbals and Eddie Ryan™ drums. Pete uses Genz Benz™ amplification and Epiphone® and Gibson™ basses. They didn’t list what Knox uses.
–norb (Cleopatra, cleopatrarecords.com)