Sex Pis­tols

Never Mind The Bol­locks… Here’s The Sex Pis­tols USM/UMc

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - Ian Fort­nam

40th-an­niver­sary edi­tion. Start sav­ing now for the 45th.

Even 40 years later, this is a di­vi­sive al­bum. The bot­tom half of the in­ter­net will light up at the mer­est sug­ges­tion of its name. There are still plenty who be­lieve that the Sex Pis­tols were a mere con­struct, a pro­to­type Take That fash­ioned sim­ply to sell un­for­tu­nate trousers, and that their soli­tary al­bum of orig­i­nal ma­te­rial was, well, just an al­bum; un­so­phis­ti­cated, icon­o­clas­tic, raw, but a bit of a pa­per tiger.

They weren’t mu­si­cal rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies like Emer­son, Lake & Palmer. They were naughty boys with foul mouths and lit­tle tal­ent. It was a widely held be­lief among af­fronted con­tem­po­rary hip­pies that if you gave in­fi­nite work­ing-class yobs in­fi­nite stolen gui­tars they’d even­tu­ally bang out

Never Mind The Bol­locks.

This is, how­ever, an opin­ion that dis­re­gards all avail­able ev­i­dence, be­cause what we have here is not only the best punk al­bum ever made, but it’s also one of the most pow­er­ful, en­dur­ingly in­flu­en­tial and com­plete recorded state­ments crafted in any genre. Dis­agree? Go tell it to your re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ist flat-earth brethren, be­cause you’re wrong.

In Chris Thomas, the Pis­tols found their Vis­conti. Their sa­vant ge­nius was al­ready there – all they needed was an in­ter­preter to trans­late pas­sion into the lan­guage of vinyl, and here it is. A ti­tanic wall of gui­tars, The Stooges Spec­torised, the Dolls Angli­cised and John Ly­don dis­till­ing a lost, dis­missed and dis­en­fran­chised gen­er­a­tion’s di­rec­tion­less, ni­hilis­tic fury into suc­cinct spit­balls of vented spleen as in­tense, un­com­pro­mis­ing and af­fect­ing as any dead po­etry.

Here ex­panded with demos, live cuts, rough mixes and an in­ter­view the much-milked hard­core will prob­a­bly al­ready own, the orig­i­nal dozen tracks have lost none of their al­lure. Do they sound any bet­ter than they did at £2.99? No. Should you own them? Fuck yeah.

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