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DJ Supply

Title - 'Vice Squad – The Albums: 1981-84' [5 CD]
Artist - Vice Squad

For those not in the know, Vice Squad are an English punk rock band formed in 1979 in Bristol, England.

In fact, the band was formed from two other local punk bands, The Contingent and TV Brakes.

The songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage (born Rebecca Bond) was a founding member of the band and although there was a period of time when the band had a different vocalist, she reformed the band in 1997.

Inbetween, Vice Squad pressed on following Bondage's departure to form Ligotage, but never with the same level of British success.

Releasing November 1st, 2019 via Captain Oi! / Cherry Red Records (UK), Vice Squad: The Albums 1981-84 is a wondrous 5CD Box-Set that rounds up of all of the Punk legends' recordings between 1981-84.

Disc One is their debut album No Cause For Concern which reached #32 in the UK Album Charts back in 1981.

CD 1 - No Cause For Concern (1981)
1. 'Young Blood'
2. 'Coward'
3. 'Nothing'
4. 'Summer Fashion'
5. '1981'
6. 'Saturday Night Special' 7. 'Offering'
8. 'The Times They Are a Changing'
9. 'Evil'
10. 'Angry Youth'
11. 'It's a Sell-Out'
12. 'Still Dying'
13. 'Last Rockers'

Featuring Bondage on vocals along with Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambly (bass) and Shane Baldwin on drums, their debut is an instant classic. Songs like ‘Last Rockers’, ‘Latex Love’ and ‘Summer Fashion’ are just a few of the now-classic gems to be discovered on this quite vibrant album.

Containing all the raw punk angst of the early '80s combined with brilliant melodies and harmonies, together with great guitar riffs and drum beats that form the back bone perfectly, add to that the vocal style of the Bondage and, well, this is surely one of the best punk albums ever made.

The second disc contains the #47 charting Stand Strong Stand Proud album which features the single of the same name and now something of an anthem for the whole UK/82 Punk movement.

CD 2 - Stand Strong Stand Proud (1982)
1. 'Stand Strong Stand Proud'
2. 'Humane'
3. 'Cheap'
4. 'Gutterchild'
5. 'Rock 'N' Roll Massacre'
6. 'Fistful of Dollars'
7. 'Freedom Begins at Home'
8. 'Out of Reach'
9. 'Saviour Machine'
10. 'No Right of Reply'
11. 'Deathwish'
12. 'Propaganda'

Although not a strong sophomore album, Bondage still brings the band into the spotlight with her singing, but sadly the casual listener will quickly become bored with it all.

For here on Stand Strong Stand Proud, Bondage sings and the band play an album of a dozen songs that soon become one.< p> Basically utilizing new patterns of three power chords for each song, and with the added distortion they then seemed to want to mess with too, many of the songs are catchy, sure, but the album overall is just not as trailblazing as their tremendous debut.

The band’s third album Shot Away is on Disc Three and is the only one they did with vocalist Lia and contains the classic single ‘You’ll Never Know’.

CD 3 - Shot Away (1984)
1. 'New Blood'
2. 'Take It or Leave It'
3. 'Out in the Cold'
4. 'Nowhere to Hide'
5. 'You'll Never Know'
6. 'Rebels and Kings'
7. 'Playground'
8. 'The Rest of Your Life'
9. 'What's Going On?'
10. 'Killing Time'
11. 'Teenage Rampage'

Known as being the only album recorded by Vice Squad without singer Beki Bondage, as well as also being the last album to feature aforementioned founding members Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambly (bass) and Shane Baldwin (drums), Shot Away is still a pretty decent album.

That said, the band were, in my humble opinion, much better with Bondage at the mic, because new-girl Lia might well have had the glam stage persona that the record label had always been begging for, but the vocal chops of Bondage she did not.

Ergo, the general public must have thought so too as their third album was released, but did miserable sales and so Vice Squad rapidly faded from view soon thereafter.

That said, their cover of 'Teenage Rampage' by Sweet is actually one of the stand out highlights here. Co-written by an Australian record producer and songwriter called Michael Chapman, who was a major force in the British pop music industry in the 1970s, he also created a string of hit singles for artists including The Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Smokie, Mud and Racey with business partner Nicky Chinn.

Disc Four, titled Odds N Squads rounds up 25 non LP tracks from the era. Includes the Indie Chart hits ‘Last Rockers’ (#7), ‘Resurrection’ (#4), ‘Black Sheep’ (#13) and ‘Teenage Rampage’ (#44) as well as #68 National Chart hit ‘Out Of Reach’.

CD 4 - Odds N Squads (1984)
1. 'Nothing' (Avon Calling Version)
2. 'Living on Dreams'
3. 'Latex Love'
4. 'Last Rockers' (Single Version)
5. 'Resurrection'
6. 'Young Blood' (Single Version)
7. 'Humane' (Single Version)
8. 'Coward'
9. 'It's a Sell Out'
10. '(So) What for the 80'?' (Demo)
11. 'Sterile' (Demo)
12. 'Out of Reach' (Demo)
13. '(So) What for the 80's?'
14. 'Sterile'
15. 'Out of Reach' (Single Version)
16. 'Tomorrow's Soldier'
17. 'Darkest Hour'
18. 'Citizen'
19. 'Scarred for Life'
20. 'Faceless Men'
21. 'Black Sheep'
22. 'New Blood' (Plus Version)
23. 'The Pledge'
24. 'The Times They Are A-Changin' (New Version)
25. 'High Spirits'

Just like it says on the tin, Odds N Squads is an expansive rounding up of 25 of Vice Squad's non-LP tracks from the era.

A stand out collection that has never been featured anywhere else quite like this, it's a right royal treasure trove of musical goodies for all Vice Squad fans, that's for sure!

The fifth and final disc is a 12 track In Concert, Live And Loud!! and was recorded in 1982 on their successful debut tour of America.

CD 5 - Live And Loud!! (1982)
1. 'Coward'
2. 'Rock N Roll Massacre'
3. 'Angry Youth'
4. 'Evil'
5. 'Living on Dreams'
6. 'Stand Strong Stand Proud'
7. 'Humane'
8. 'Latex Love'
9. 'Last Rockers'
10. 'Out of Reach'
11. 'E.M.I'
12. 'Upright Citizen'

Starting slowly and building quickly with the two minute 'Coward,' the introduction from a young Bondage is an immediate flashback to a time when the girls wanted to be in the punk spotlight as much as their male counterparts.

Chock full of overflowing energy and drums that seem to never stop, the live performance is a massively brilliant testament to a band that knew who they were, knew they could be something big, but just self-imploded all too soon behind the scenes.

Vocalist Beki Bondage still leads a version of the band to this day and is a regular and popular addition to the main Punk Festivals across the globe such as REBELLION in Blackpool where they played on August 4th, 2019.

The clamshell box contains a 16 page booklet featuring liner notes, pictures of all the relevant records and lots of clippings and memorabilia from the era.

Official 5CD Box-Set Purchase Link