Sounds, February 5th, 1983
I went a ‘neurotic’ virgin, stood and gawped, and came away feeling my pleasure centres had been ravished almost to the point of being raped. I’m certainly not complaining.
Not my usual beat – after all they’re definitely not a reggae/African/funk band – I was somewhat taken aback upon being asked to review the Newton Neurotics. Bushwacked being AWOL, nobody else fancied the prospect.
Why, I wondered? Was punter castration part of the Harlow crew’s treatment? Did they attract hordes of hysterical psychiatrists jabbering on about Jung? Were straightjackets de rigeur? Such, I’m afraid, were the qualms of an uninitiate.
As it happens, the Newtown Neurotics were bleeding excellent. A powerhouse generating timely electric shock therapy. First: You can’t go anywhere nowadays without some poet sprouting out the woodwork. And, sure enough, there was Little Dave onstage when I arrived.
Judging by the five pieces I heard – subjects sailing from Captain ‘No Limits’ Kirk to a pisstake of Superman vs Nick O’Teen in which the man of steel doesn’t so much fume fags as suck spliffs – Little Dave showed promise. I know that’s horribly patronising, but it’s true. The words are there even if some of the themes are better belted by other bards. All Little Dave lacks is the requisite detonator delivery.
Not so the Neurotics. From the alarming outset of ‘Wake Up World’, through to an encore of the Pinhead’s ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, the band buzzed and bit with so much relevance that any criticism about being derivative seems pointless. Styles come and go but it’s what you achieve within a chosen framework that counts. In the Neurotics’ area, the spirit of punk celebrates.
Let me put it this way: I saw the Clash last year and came away cold having witnessed a vacuum, albeit a well packaged one. The NNs, on the other hand, have the moral fibre that the Strummers of this world lack.
When Steve Drewett shrieks from behind his shades “Let’s kick out the Tories, the rulers of this land, for they are the enemies of the British working man,” you can feel the heart behind his sentiments. It’s not an empty pose. This and, above all, the shards of pop which splinter their songs is what elevates the Neurotics above the thrash trash.
The castigation of ‘Mindless Violence’ (“It proves you don’t know the people who are shitting on you”), the hounding of ‘Hypocrites’ and the tribulations of having ‘No Sanctuary’ for being ‘different’ are much more than mere mini-amphetamine anthems – pure rush but never simple. A lot of this is down to the fearsome rhythm clout of Colin Masters and Simon O’Brien.
What with Attila (told you these poets get everywhere) and a couple of punters augmenting the band for, if memory serves, a radical reload of the Members’ ‘Living For Unemployment’, the Neurotics were ironically one of the sanest experiences I’ve had for months.
Little Dave (far left) on tour with the Neurotics in 1980