Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - Ge­off Bar­ton

Built for speed. Wake­field war­riors Vardis had one of the New Wave Of Bri­tish Heavy Metal’s most charis­matic char­ac­ters in flaxen-haired axe hero Steve Zo­diac. But while his fire­ball fret­board fre­net­ics were vastly en­ter­tain­ing, the band’s song­writ­ing abil­i­ties were not. Vardis wisely re­leased a live al­bum as their de­but in 1980, hell-for-leather boo­gie-fu­elled lu­nacy at its core. The aptly ti­tled 100 M.P.H. (8/10) re­mains a red-raw combo of cage-fighter ag­gres­sion and bul­let-train ac­cel­er­a­tion, and con­tains Vardis’ best track If I Were King

– al­though its re­frain of ‘If I were king, I’d rock’n’roll’ does con­jure up a rather alarm­ing pic­ture of Charles, dither­ing mosh-pit monarch. The band were put into the stu­dio for 1981 fol­low-up The World’s In­sane (4/10) and com­pletely ran out of steam; no boy-racer tyre-shred­ding shenani­gans here, just a plethora of speed humps and traf­fic­con­trol cam­eras. Po­lice Pa­trol comes com­plete with bag­pipes by the bloke who played har­mon­ica on Cul­ture Club’s Karma Chameleon (you couldn’t make it up) and the al­bum reaches its nadir with a limp ver­sion of Hawk­wind’s Sil­ver Ma­chine. This down­ward trend con­tin­ued on 1982’s Quo Vardis

(4/10), an al­bum that in­cludes not only the ret­ro­spec­tively il­lad­vised Gary Glit­ter Part One but also a track ti­tled Where There’s Mods There’s Rock­ers along with the lyric: ‘Where there’s women there’s whores.’ No won­der Vardis’ re­cent re-for­ma­tion caused barely a rip­ple.

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