Review: The Adicts - The Albums 1982-87 boxset

The Adicts 1982-87 boxset (Captain Oi!/Cherry Red).
The Adicts 1982-87 boxset (Captain Oi!/Cherry Red).

The Adicts are a punk band from that most un-punk of places, Ipswich, but they must be doing something right, as they’ve been around for more than 40 years, on and off.

Probably best known for early single Viva La Revolution (included here), they stand out from the crowd thanks to their Clockwork Orange ‘droog’ image (all white clothes and black boots and bowler hats), and enormously entertaining live shows.

The Adicts

The Adicts

Singer Keith ‘Monkey’ Warren wears joker make-up and wildly-patterned suits, and they’re often labelled ‘punk pathetique’ due to the whole ‘dressy up’ element of their look.

Captain Oi! have gathered together an interesting five-CD collection of their early work, though sadly it’s missing their 1981 debut album Songs Of Praise, presumably for licensing reasons.

This set starts with the 1982 follow-up Sound Of Music, the only Adicts album to bother the Top 100 in the UK (making No.99). It’s presented here in its original 13-track form, without the bonus cuts which have been added to subsequent reissues.

It gives you a decent feel for their melodic, chorus-driven songs, and the standout tracks are the single Chinese Takeaway, Joker In The Pack (featuring violin!) and Easy Way Out, all of which remain live staples to this day.

The second disc is their third album, 1985’s Smart Alex, which includes the singles Tokyo and Bad Boy – the latter their most successful 45, reaching the heady heights of No. 75 in the UK charts.

Disc three is Fifth Overture, the 1986 album which was originally released only in Germany, and the least said about it the better. It has a more polished glam rock sound, and is one of their most collectible records – presumably because it didn’t sell many.

Disc four here is Rarities, which features 18 non-LP tracks, including the aforementioned Viva La Revolution single and the Bar Room Bop EP, plus a handful of notable cover versions – the Ramones’ I Wanna Be Sedated, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s You’ll Never Walk Alone and Marlene Dietrich’s Falling In Love Again.

Completing the set is Live And Loud!, recorded in 1981, but not released until 1987. Pleasingly ragged around the edges, it includes many of the songs which are included in their spectacular live shows to this day.

The likes of Easy Way Out, Joker In The Pack, Chinese Takeaway, Viva la Revolution, Steamroller and Straitjacket are performed with a real punky edge, with presumably none of the streamers, confetti, playing cards, beach balls, bubbles and glitter which accompany performances these days.

An uneven set then, but an enjoyable enough one for anyone who missed out on these records first time round. 7/10.