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Performer Notes
  • X-Ray Spex: Poly-Styrene (vocals); Jak Airport (guitar); Rudi Thomson (saxophone); Paul Dean (bass); BP Hurding (drums).
  • X-Ray Spex is notable for a number of reasons. Chiefly, it was one of the very few bands UK punk bands with female members. One of the group's distinguishing characteristics is their decidedly un-punk use of saxophones. Most importantly, though, X-Ray Spex's first effort is actually a good record!
  • Fronted by Marion Elliot, who called herself Poly Styrene in those days, Spex managed to capture something that many punk rock bands missed. They always sounded like they were having a really great time. Many of the lyrics deal with appearance and perception ("Identity," "I Can't Do Anything," "I A ClichT"), and most are quite funny, sung in Elliot's proudly unschooled, nasal voice. The music is based on standard-issue buzzing punk guitar and propulsive drumming but also features Rudi Thompson's clever, aggressive sax. Though the CD mysteriously re-sequences the track listing of the original vinyl, it more than compensates by adding four bonus songs-including both sides of the band's brilliant debut single, "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" This album defines one glorious moment in a musical revolution and is required listening for anyone with an interest in punk.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (10/31/02, p.140) - Ranked # 46 in Rolling Stone's "Women in Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" - "...Exciting..."

Spin (5/01, p.108) - Ranked #5 in Spin's "50 Most Essential Punk Records" - "...No '77ers had more fun thrashing through pop culture's candy shop of horrors than these brace-faced, sax-strangling supergeeks..."

Spin (p.108) - "[I]t's the roots of Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and an up-and-coming art-punk garage crew near you."

Q (5/02 SE, p.144) - 3 stars out of 5 - Included in Q's "100 Best Punk Albums" - "...Inventive, humorous, fiesty and filler-free."

Uncut (p.132) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]he heat and intensity of this debut has never been repeated. Nearly 30 years after it was recorded, GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS is as timely as ever."

Q (Magazine) (p.139) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t still comes up trumps, packed with such witty, no-nonsense rants as 'Warrior In Woolworths,' 'Identity' and 'The Day The World Turned Day-Glo'..."

Mojo (Publisher) (3/03, p.76) - Ranked #19 in Mojo's "Top 50 Punk Albums" - "...Poly Styrene steered X-Ray Spex from market-stall chic to Top of the Pops with an audacious run of hits..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.131) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The band's entire studio output in just over an hour..."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Punk credentials assured, the group relished messing with the genre's narrow musical template by adding atonal saxophone breaks from the delightfully-named 'Lora Logic' and the distorted guitar figures of 'Jak Airport.'"
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