Cosmic Olympians of punk rock
The album I can't live without
I can still remember the first time I read about The Rezillos. It was during the 70s punk rock explosion in London.
As a NME reader I was up to play with what was going on in the UK (well apart from the 3-4 month lag it took for the NME to be shipped here) and in the live section there was a review of one of their gigs. There was a comment made that Eugene and Fay, the vocalists, "looked like they were limbering up for some sort of Cosmic Olympics”. There was no photo but it sounded exciting and a bit different. Also they were from Scotland and not London, the home of UK punk rock.
I made a mental note to keep an eye out for the album if it ever came out. Later issues would feature articles and pictures of The Rezillos. They had a look inspired by the 60s and sci-fi and wore perhaps the coolest face furniture: wrap around sunglasses!
Sure enough, about three months after I read a very positive review in the NME I found a copy in at Sounds Unlimited in Queen Street. The art work was a riot of colour with little cigarette card style black and white cards randomly positioned on the front and back covers. I couldn’t wait to get it home and play it.
After a lengthy train ride home I sat down and put the LP on. From the opening seconds of the bass and drums intro to Flying Saucer Attack through to the closer Bad Guy Reaction, I was in heaven with a giant grin plastered all over my face. It was like someone had made an album just for me. Every song had elements of humor/sci-fi/spying/teenage relationships/comics.
The three cover songs were well chosen and executed with the same speed and style that didn't make them stand out as someone else's work. Despite buying other records that day I would have played this album a good three times in a row each time a different song would stand out. This was probably my first album where every track demanded attention. As I listened I would look at the cover and those cigarette card style cartoon cards then it clicked each one was a graphic representation of a song.
Sadly the Rezillos would not last much longer, one more single then they exploded. About a year later a live album would appear which I loved despite the band disassociating themselves with it in the NME. Recorded in Glasgow it showed them in fine form in front of a home crowd there were even some new songs including one about Thunderbirds!
Their cover of The Sweet's Ballroom Blitz has to be heard to be believed. Most of their work would be collected on CD Can’t Stand The Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos.
Even now 30 years later this album still cheers me up like no other no matter what is going on in my real world I can put this album on & disappear into a happier place.
Fay and Eugene would continue working together as the excellent but confusingly titled The Revillos the other three would form Shake for a one off 10 inch EP before splitting. Drummer Angel Paterson would go onto underrated band TV21, Jo Callis would join Human League co-writing their breakthrough album Dare! Hi Fi Harris would later join up with The Revillos.
This would have been the end but in 2001 the original band reformed and started gigging and then started releasing new singles to ITunes. Songs like No.1 Boy and Out Of This World sparkle and it's (almost) like no time has passed for these guys.
Welcome back Rezillos, if you ever get to New Zealand, the queue starts behind me.
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