Review: Angelic Upstarts  

Angelic Upstarts
“The Punk Singles Collection”

The 17 tracks here represent all the singles A-sides released by the legendary Angelic Upstarts, including seven UK Top 75 hits.  A full-color booklet offers pictures of each release and detailed notes.  Beginning in 1977, the group always offered politically motivated lyrics more aware than radical, though.  That is the group provoked as much thought as it did anger.  The group even criticized the skinhead community from which it arose for racism and fascism as much as it looked outward to attack police brutality as on the debut 1979 single “Murder of Liddle Towers”, included here.  The 1980 follow-up “We Gotta Get Outta This Place” from this working class band is an excellent version of the ultimate protest rock song made famous by The Animals.  The collection concludes with perhaps the most controversial song from the group, “Brighton Bomb” celebrating the IRA’s attempt to assassinate the Conservative cabinet as well as the unabashed and pure patriotism of the 1980 release “England”.  Tracks that mark the band’s move to include reggae and dub sounds include “I Understand” and “Different Strokes”.  This compendium is a testament to a talented band that used great underground rock songs to put its spin on complex issues in front of many through the charts as well as commercial and underground releases.