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    Adam And The Ants

    kings of the wild frontier dirk wears white sox

    Dirk Wears White Sox 5 ( 1979 )
    Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2) / Digital Tenderness / Nine Plan Failed / Day I Met God / Tabletalk / Cleopatra / Catholic Day / Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face) / Animals and Man / Family of Noise / The Idea

    Yes, it's the osbscure pre-fame album on which Adam had an entirely different set of ants. These ants left after the album to join up with Malcolm Mclaren and Bow Bow Bow. Remember them? Boy, did they have a digusting album sleeve. One of Malcolm's ideas inveitably. Let's get our fourteen year old girl singer to sit on a lawn naked! Adam had the last laugh of course, losing his entire band only serving to spur him on. Anyway, that's another story and shall be told another time. For the time being we have do it yourself light-punk and it's no real surprise that this version of Adam And The Ants failed to sell. There's absolutely nothing distinctive here and I wouldn't even be sat here typing away about it had Adam not gone onto have the career he did. This was punk music for people who hadn't heard Siouxsie and the Banshees or The Slits. The tricksy rhythms here just sound cloying and the band sound like they actually want to play properly rather than embracing their own lack of talent and using their minds to come up with some original ideas. All the ideas here, such as they are, seem to be from the man himself. His presence and lyrics mark this out as different from your then usual Pistols/Dammed/Buzzcocks or Clash clones. He fills up songs that otherwise would be tuneless drones. Before all of that however, i'll pick out some highlights if I can. 'Cartrouble' instantly reminds of The Slits music only without the reggae influence, if that makes sense. The second half of the tune sees that Adam just wanted to make pop music all along. It's easily the finest, catchiest melody on the entire album.

    Other highlights then, because I did promise some didn't I? Yes. Damn. Well, 'Family Of Noise' is decent, even including a portion of 'She Loves You' by The Beatles, yet more proof where the mans heart truly lay and that's with pop music not punk. This is some of the least convincing punk music i've ever heard but it still can't really be classified as New Wave or anything else. It's just so unambitious. If the story of people putting everything into their first albums because it might be the only one you make is true, that thought seems to have completely escaped these guys. The idea that anyone could play guitar and form a band was good, but it created so many bad bands apart from the ones we obviously remember. Adam and his Ants appearing at the arse end of punk may have pleased some people, but I wasn't one of them. Well, I was only five. I got into the band when 'Ant Rap' appeared with its scary drums! Other highlights then? Um, let's drop the pretence. There aren't any. It's not an actively bad album though, it just gives new meaning the word mediocre. As such, a mediocre and slightly poor 5/10 seems to be just about right.

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    Carl England
    I think this deserves a 7 ,Adrian . Not up and at ` em Punk Rock ,but was never intended to be . Far better than the pantomime rubbish that was to follow .


    top of page Kings Of The Wild Frontier 8 ( 1980 )
    History Dog Eat Dog / 'Antmusic' / Feed Me to the Lions / Los Rancheros / Ants Invasion / Killer in the Home / Kings of the Wild Frontier / The Magnificent Five / Don't Be Square (Be There) / Jolly Roger / Making History / The Human Beings

    It's amazing what hiring a new band and sticking a white stripe across your nose can do. And they criticized Robbie Fowler at Liverpool for doing the same, haha! The main innovation here compared to the new is a man name Marco Pirroni who helped Adam write the songs and twin drummers. This tribal, twin drum sound pleased the five year old me no end. It still does actually, I must say. They play basically the same drum pattern song after song only with enough subtle alterations to make it sound different and suitable for different songs. Man, the first two songs here are good pop singles. Both were huge UK hit singles and ant-mania was born, to the point where the man was termed the biggest pop star since Marc Bolan. Well, every decade needs a new one. What did we get in the 90s? Robbie Williams. The 00s? Errm, James Blunt? Point made and I hope taken, Adam And The Ants had something going on. Compared to last time out, even the supporting material here has something to say for itself. The wonderful 'Los Rancheros' complete with distinctive western guitar intro and a very catchy chorus. The twin drums rumble ominously away at the beginning of 'Killer In The Home', a song in which not a huge amount else happens, which just goes to show how effective distinctive percussion can be to a song.

    Side two opens with a bang as the title track ( and another hit ) gets the old tribal drum thing going on in excelcius! Ah, what a sound. Even the westernish guitar sounds cartoon scary here, like the sherrif is round about town and you know, he means business. Ultimately, this is a good time party LP. It isn't 'Abbey Road', you know? It's not something to be admired and ultimately it would be easy but churlish in the extreme to pick it apart. The songwriting isn't the strongest known to man and the songs generally lack depth. But, 'The Magnificent 5' contains lots of musical daftness, 'Jolly Rodger' is daftness personified and a key point arrives in my brain. Lots of kids liked this stuff and I was one of them. Well, the lyrics are very cartoony, the sound is distinctive with the drums. Adam was a good looking chap and you wanted to be him, living in this bright fantasy world. True, 'Don't Be Square' falls flat on its semi disco face and 'The Human Beings' was probably the last track for good reason, but let's not get all serious. Adam And The Ants created a fine piece of fun that time, funnily enough, will always remember. The record itself may not get better with age but nothing still sounds quite like it. Whether that's a good thing is entirely for the listener with a child in his heart to decide.

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    Readers Comments

    tg01 Lincolnshire
    I think that this album deserves an 8 out of 10. It has not dated much at all, even compared to other New Wave and Punk. 'Catholic Day' is a highlight for me, in what is a fantastically raw and exciting album.


    top of page this page last updated 20/02/11


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