Friday, November 21, 2008

61. GBH - City Baby Attacked By Rats

(The band is also known as Charged GBH)

I was working at a record store in 1983 when a co-worker played this album for me, asking me to settle a debate with another co-worker. “Is this punk or speed f167530ux2w.jpgmetal?” I listened to the first four tracks or so, shrugged my shoulders and said “Why can’t it be both?” They looked at me weird and the one guy said, “Well, you know, it’s got that whole fast guitar thing going on, so I’m thinking it’s more metal than punk....” Yea, well, Yngwie Malmsteem plays a fast guitar too, but we’re not going to call him anything other than a wanker, ok? The world isn’t black and white, guys. It’s not an either/or premise here.

Label? Call it what you want; thrash, punk metal, whatever. City Baby - and GBH by extension - doesn’t need no stinkin’ label. Violent, offensive, dark, dirty, crude, mean and faster than hell, City Baby - framed by Abrahall’s guttural vocals and Blyth’s blistering guitar work - is an attention deficit’s delight. Blasting through the songs at an average of about two minutes, each tune does what it has to do and then quits. It grabs you in, gets your heart pumping, slaps you around and then drops you on the floor. Then you get up for another. By the time the album is done, you’ll wonder if you just went through some Yngwie nightmare, where it’s proven that masturbating with your guitar may get people to call you a genius, but pounding your way through some punk-rock-on-speed and leaving people breathless, worn out, scarred and begging for more counts for a hell of a lot more than having 14 year old kids with used Fenders trying to mimic your licks. It’s when the 14 year olds with used Fenders break shit in their garage while going crazy trying to play "Bellend Bop" that you know you kick some major ass.

So, if you’re in the mood to get your heart pumping, get your throat burning, and maybe jump off your couch a couple of times and move around like you’re still 18 years old (I see a recurring them here today) and can take a musical beating, then crank up City Baby and prepare to feel that familiar surge of power and excitement like you had the last time you were at a show. And then prepare to feel the agony of defeat as you lay on the ground holding your knee and cursing father time. Not saying I did that, but...yea.

Favorite song: Sick Boy

GBH at allmusic

1 comment:

Cullen said...

Another great one. I think the first album of theirs I heard was Leather, Bristles, No Survivors and Sick Boys... . A friend and I picked it up at our local music store and were blown away. I think always felt it was punk, but I don't think it really matters. It's raw aggression.