Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Big Audio Dynamite - This Is Big Audio Dynamite (1985)

If you ain't ill, it'll fix your car....


Released October 1985

Running time 43.09

Big Audio Dynamite were guitarist/songwriter Mick Jones' post-Clash band. They were an interesting mix of contemporary hip/hop rhythms and vibes with Jones' rock sensibilities and impressive ear for a hook and a melody. He was also an excellent lyricist with a knack for a witty line or two. Jones and co-former Don Letts loved sampling classic movies and their albums are crammed full of sampled quotes from all sorts of films. This made them quite a unique band and always a pleasure to listen to.

Other musical influences were reggae, dance and funk which, together with a few nods to Jones punk background and also to classic pop made for an interesting cornucopia of sounds.


1. Medicine Show
2. Sony
3. E=MC2
4. The Bottom Line
5. A Party
6. Sudden Impact!
7. Stone Thames
8. Bad                                                            

The album's opener, Medicine Show is packed with the afore-mentioned samples, mainly from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and it features an absolute killer guitar riff from Jones. As always with Jones, there is plenty of gentle humour in his lyrics and this is also clear in Sony, a song about  the seemingly unstoppable Japanese technological advances of the time - “soon we’ll be known as “Great Japan”, just like they are in Great Britain” -  and in the riffy, infectious E=Mc2 with its witty references to Einstein's famous theory.

The Bottom Line is a stop-start rocker with yet another great riff and hook, as is the heavy, but rousing Bad. Stone Thames, about the AIDS epidemic, the rap-influenced A Party and Sudden Impact are all of a high standard too. All of these tracks are blessed with wonderful hooks and entertaining lyrics. Jones really was a most underestimated musician and songwriter and, combined with Letts' rootsiness, they really had something. 

Funnily enough, though, of the four great albums that Big Audio Dynamite in their original (and best) line up released, this is my least favourite. I feel they got even better after this although this was by far their most successful album.

For some inexplicable reason, they sort of went downhill, commercially, from here, which was strange as the next three albums were excellent.