The Vibrators - The Epic Years 1976-1978 album review

Four-CD box set from the punk also-rans.

Cover art for The Vibrators - The Epic Years 1976-1978 album

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At the 100 Club Punk Special – a mini-festival in September 1976 starring class leaders the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect and Siouxsie – propping up the bill on the second night was veteran rocker Chris Spedding, backed by The Vibrators, whose novelty pre-punk hanger-on/ bandwagoneer status was seemingly confirmed when they signed to Mickie Most’s RAK label. They later moved to Epic, but the cred-damage was done.

This four-CD box goes some way towards rescuing The Vibrators’ reputation. They may have lacked the Pistols’ outsider cachet, The Clash’s cool rebel persona and The Damned’s cartoon mayhem, but they excelled at speed-fuelled temple-throbbers, like the Velvets on sulphate.

Here, you get 1977 debut album Pure Mania, follow-up V2 (1978), including minor hit Automatic Lover, a disc of John Peel sessions, and a raw and unvarnished In Concert ’77 recording from London’s Marquee. A treasure trove of two-minute noise bursts

Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.