The Adicts Biography
Last updated: 08/20/2009 12:00:00 PM
by Jon Sarre
It's probably safe to assume that every fuckin' punk band from the '70s or '80s with the possible exception of Terry and the Idiots (immortalized in Lech Kowalski's D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage when Terry got a pint of beer thrown in his face) is gonna have a retrospective "best of" album compiled for the benefit of collectors and other hopeless cases. Although some of these comps are gonna be worth yer hard-panned silver, some of 'em, well, let's just say yer money's probably better spent on more useful leisure items like liquor, cigarettes, and Lotto tickets. If ya got a real job though, have extra cash, and feel ya can live a couple days without a 40-ouncer, you may wanna drop yer dough on some old English. Old English punk rock, that is.
This Adicts pick o' the shit is a nice one to have, 'specially since their records aren't exactly clogging up the shelves anywhere (oh yeah, memo to Cleopatra: bearing that in mind, how 'bout some more info on trivia like the names of people in the band, what song comes from what album, when said album was released - "sometime between 1976 and 1996" doesn't really cut it - don't you guys have interns who need somethin' to do?). Anyhow, the Adicts were kinda the thinking man's Peter and the Test Tube Babies and they've existed off and on for the last twenty years (briefly, sometime in the 1980s I think, as simply ADX). Musically, they pretty much run the gamut from chant-a-long, scarf-wavin' oi to somethin' akin to a punked-out Dexy's Midnight Runners, to new-wave-punk fusion and back again without soundin' any the worse for it.
"Straight Jacket," with its cop siren guitar lead, flawless rhyming of "generation" and "provocation," and easy-to-remember three syllable chorus, is by far the best of the bootboy stuff, though "This is Your Life," "Don't Exploit Me," and "Get Adicted" are anthems that hold their own with the best of 'em. "Joker in the Pack" and "Chinese Takeway" feature some trad English folk fiddles, which, if nothing else, is something Anti Nowhere League never thought of doing.
Perhaps fitting for a band with a wit as pointed as a stiletto (they can even do a song as stupid as "My Baby Got Run Over By a Steamroller" and not sound that stupid), the Adicts picked up a Clockwork Orange fixation. They dressed like Droogs, penned the Burgess/Kubrick-inspired "Ode to Alex" and even covered ole Ludwig Van's "Ode to Joy." This material was apparently recorded during their kinda suspect keyboard-enhanced new wave flirtation, so it's not as good as some of the other stuff, but it's interesting just the same.
Most of the icky songs wind up in the middle of Ultimate Adiction, so I figure they had a few bad years there (though I don't know for sure cuz Mr. Smalldick UK's liner notes are again seriously lacking in useful information). Apparently, the Adicts have since ditched the keys, broken up, re-formed, re-broken up, and recently re-formed again with a new album out or due out soon. Well, if ya wanna wait on the new record, or just jog yer fogged memory, here's your starter.