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EATER – ‘The Album’ Review

Eater The AlbumTeenage punks Eater were widely panned by critics when they first emerged in the late 70s, but these petulant school kids made some undeniably good tunes.

A seminal British punk band who shared stages with Buzzcocks, The Damned and Johnny Moped, Eater released five singles, one LP, three compilations and appeared on some fine early punk comps too.

And for the 30th anniversary of their one and only LP, Eater released a deluxe edition of The Album – with a second CD of singles to celebrate all of the band’s original recordings, including their single ‘Thinking Of The USA’, largely seen to be the band’s best effort.

Formed by high school friends and named after a T-Rex song, Eater played a key role in the early history of the Roxy Club, topping the bill twice in ’77.

There’s a naivety to Eater’s sound that could maybe wear thin over a bigger discography, but – on their sole LP – Eater plough through sixteen songs of abrasive, snotty tunes that epitomise 70s punk.

Opener ‘You’ has a definite Buzzcocks feel, as a fun, boogie sound layers blunt, targeted lyrics from singer and guitarist Andy Blade.

Eater religiously followed that classic underground punk trend but they also hinted at having greater mainstream sensibilities; ‘Room For One’ gets dangerously close to being a good pop song, while the boisterous ‘Lock It Up’ mocks the upper classes in a playful tune.

The Album is hardly an essential release but Eater make enjoyable dim punk, and their youthful energy and attitude really come through on their LP. A revved-up cover of the Velvet Underground classic ‘Sweet Jane’ is followed by their altered (much shorter) version of Alice Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’, with Eater’s version denoting the average age of the band: 15. They later cover David Bowie’s ‘Queen Bitch’ and Velvet Underground’s ‘Waitin’ For The Man’.

Their tender age often leads to a simplistic outlook but it rarely matters, with songs like ‘I Don’t Need It’ giving a plain middle finger to authority and Government, with lyrics like “The country isn’t run, no I tell you it’s ruled, by a load of your hypocritical views”.

Eater were very willing to offend and at times it does feel contrived and just plain stupid. Blade attempts to tear down a girl with the line “Why don’t you get raped, go and get fucked” after calling her a “whore” – and, if it’s the same girl, muses over her dead body in ‘Anne’.

But even in their youth, there was an awareness of the world around them that most punks twice their age were devoid of. In ‘My Business’, Eater decries the punk culture and the way that it often consumes itself: “you wear your silly clothes like a million other sheep. I don’t care what you wear, ’bout your hair, you know it’s up to you”.

The angsty ‘No Brains’ dissents against mindless culture and has a killer, sing-along chorus that would make for a perfect end to the album – if it wasn’t for the final track of acoustic silliness that sees the band break their solid, brisk form.

Eater were mainly disliked because they were more of the same, another one of the run-of-the-mill punk bands that were around at the time. But their straightforward punk songs play well to this day and The Album – while hardly a classic – is an unapologetic, vintage punk rock release that deserves to be heard.

Jake – Punk Online

 

Track Listing

DISC 1

  1. You     
  2. Public Toys     
  3. Room For One     
  4. Lock It Up     
  5. Sweet Jane     
  6. Fifteen     
  7. I Don’t Need It   
  8. Anne     
  9. Get Raped     
  10. Space Dreamin’   
  11. Queen Bitch     
  12. My Business     
  13. Waiting For The Man     
  14. No More     
  15. No Brains     
  16. Luv & Piece    

    DISC 2

    1. Outside View     
    2. You (Single Version)     
    3. Thinkin’ Of The U.S.A.    
    4. Space Dreaming (Single Version)
    5. Michael’s Monetary System    
    6. Jeepster     
    7. Debutantes Ball (Live)     
    8. No More (Bedroom Fits) (Live)     
    9. Thinkin’ Of The U.S.A. (Live)     
    10. Holland (Live)   
    11. What She Wants She Needs     
    12. Reach For The Sky
    13. Typewriter Babies
    14. Point Of View     
    15. I Don’t Need It (Live at The Roxy)
    16. Fifteen (Live at The Roxy)    

 

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