Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks: Complete Recordings 1976-1978 album review

Pub-rock finery reissued

Tyla Gang Pool Hall Punks: Complete Recordings 1976-1978 album cover

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

For a brief period in the 1970s, the Tyla Gang represented the very best of the pub-rock era. And here, gathered together on three CDs, is a comprehensive summary of their career.

As you might expect, both of the band’s albums, Yachtless and Moonproof, are included, and along with those are the aborted third album, assorted live tracks, BBC sessions and out-takes. As such this is a superb celebration of why the Gang stood apart from the punk and new-wave bands who dominated the era. Led by the indomitable Sean Tyla, they were straightforward rock’n’rollers who appreciated the value of roughed-up melodies couched in high-energy boogie.

Yachtless is perhaps the better of the two albums, with songs like Hurricane and Speedball Morning fizzing and jiving. Moonproof has some genuine highlights, while the unfinished third album could have taken the band to a new level. And the bonus tracks are far from being just fillers, with both Speedballs and Spitballs, two other projects fronted by Tyla, also getting space.

Sean Tyla should be hailed as one of the UK’s most crucial rock’n’rollers. And this compilation of his Gang at work amply underscores his worth. Pub rock in its pomp.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.