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The Members - Greatest Hits: All The Singles album review

Sounds of the suburbs

Cover art for The Members - Greatest Hits: All The Singles album

The Members were probably the greatest pop-punk band of the time. They wrote melancholic, tragicomic songs in the best melancholic, tragicomic British beatpop tradition, covering love, bedsits and loneliness, best exemplified by their debut Solitary Confinement, and their biggest hit, Sound Of The Suburbs.

They had a short career, with songs like Radio and the brilliant Working Girl doing badly, but then revived themselves without vocalist Nicky Tesco: many, many recent songs are included, all of them excellent, from Smartphone Junkie to Incident At Surbiton, indicating that their Kinks-with-an-edge spirit remains intact.

Unlike most compilations from this era, All The Singles contains the 45 version of Suburbs for a change (but not, oddly, the original Stiff single of Solitary Confinement). It would have been nice to have some more earlier glories (Rat Up A Drainpipe, the 12-inch of Offshore Banking Business, say), but this is still an excellent collection, showing that not all late-70s punk and new wave bands need to be entirely mired in the past.