Top Sounds - O

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS - Don’t Tell Me How To (Live) {Recess} Have to say, I’ve not really kept up to date on OWTH since the ‘In Desolation’ album of 2010. So, lots of the songs on this 14-track live album were new to me. Apparently this is the only gig the band played in 2020 before COVID kicked in and was recorded in the band’s ‘Favourite venue and city in the USA’. As always, it’s stellar stuff and that vocal of Ryan Young’s is still one of the most distinct, passionate and soaring vocals in Punk Rock. Best moments include a simply majestic ‘Disappear’, the prophetic ‘Focus On Your Own Family’, ‘Shirts’ where some guy in the audience seemingly hit a woman which resulted in Young stopping the song and getting the fuckhead evicted, ‘Janie’ which is always a joy to hear while the closing double banger of the epic ‘Locking Eyes’ and ‘Clear The Air’ reminds me just how great a gig can be and how much I miss them. Probably not the ideal place for someone new to OWTH to start, but as live albums go, this is damn impressive and another slice of spirited and vital Punk Rock in the OWTH cannon. Limited coloured vinyl, but limited packaging too. (24.04.21)

OPHELIAS, THE - Bare Bodkin {Independent Project Records} Career-spanning compilation of this San Fran band active in the mid-late 80s. You get 15 tracks, five of which are previously unreleased and it’s a wonderful eclectic mash of Glam-era BOWIE, CARDIACS moments of crazed construction, Barrett-era FLOYD psychedelia, the folkish whimsy of MARTIN NEWELL and a sprinkle of WHO-esque propulsion. Totally captivating stuff with best moments being the sub-Grunge drone of opener ‘Anywhere You Look’, the stomp of ‘Holy Glow’ that emphasises the CARDIACS vibe, the XTC-isms of ‘Strange New Glasses’ and the band’s infamous reworking of the traditional ‘Mister Rabbit’ while highlight could be the dramatic ‘Glory Hog’ that switches betwixt stately musical hall taut grandeur and flat out Ziggy-esque rocking. I’ve not even mentioned their putting to music the scene of Ophelia’s descent into madness from Shakespeare’s Hamlet! As always with these IPR releases, it’s packaged in an over-size CD sleeve, includes a great booklet with lyrics and essays, cards and generally delightful aesthetics. Nah - not Punk Rock, but way more thrilling than an(other) Anti-Nowhere League reissue! Recommended for those who have broader musical horizons!! (27.06.22)
Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2021 including: