Tuesday, 18 September 2018
The Vibrators - Pure Mania (1977)
Released June 1977
The Vibrators often faced accusations of not being "real punks". They were deemed as gnarled old pub rockers who jumped on the bandwagon. They were actually the first punk band I saw live in early 1977, (I'll never forget the sheer, visceral excitement of it) and although this album didn't get released until mid-1977 they had been gigging as punks for nearly a year, so I guess they were punks. They had the punk attitude, the look and the short sharp guitar attack songs. Yes they were in their late twenties (that was old), but so were The Stranglers, and I was never convinced as to the true punk credentials of The Damned, Eddie & The Hot Rods or Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, either, come to mention it. Also, Stiff Little Fingers, regarded by all as punks, took their name from a song on this album.
All the songs on here are loud, guitar thrash mini-anthems - "Into The Future" and the frenetic "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" lead the way and "Keep It Clean" has definite hints of post-punk in its Magazine-style guitar parts and industrial riffs. The Vibrators could play, that's for sure, too. "Baby Baby" was a perfect punk meets power pop anthem. "No Heart" also reminds me of the first Magazine album and also Gang Of Four's material from a few years later. If "She's Bringing You Down" isn't punk, then I don't know what it is. This has hot, sweaty gigs in 1977 all over it. The same applies to the frantic, raucous "Petrol".
"London Girls" has some great punk riffs and a great, decadent atmosphere throughout. Even more so is the superb, slightly Velvet Underground-esque (not sure why, though) "Whips And Furs", always one of my favourites from those heady days. "You Broke My Heart" is packed full of gutsy, metallic, clunky guitars breaks. The track "Stiff Little Fingers" is actually a bit of a chugger, so I am not quite sure what inspired Belfast's finest to name themselves after it. The rest of the album pogoes its way gloriously and sneeringly to a careering close. The fact that The Vibrators had been around for a while in other incarnations didn't really matter, they sounded punk and they launched themselves into it and they weren't actually that old.