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

Pub-rock finery reissued

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.