I must confess that when punk first started rearing its ugly head in 1976, I was not a huge fan, as while the energy was interesting, too many songs sounded as if they had been created by people who had no musical ability or ideas whatsoever. What was way more fascinating to me was what came out slightly afterwards, the independent alternative scene, where the only commonality between bands was the DIY ethic. Some bands shot up like rockets, and exploded just as spectacularly, while some were slow burners and others never made it off the ground at all. I was only aware of the UK bands back then, and it was only in later years that I discovered the CBGB bands, and often found their earlier recordings to be far more interesting than what they turned into in later years.
So, what am I getting to? Simply put, this album by The Knids (they are of course named after Roald Dahl’s Vermicious Kind) is an absolute delight from the beginning to the end, and it typifies so much of that period in the late Seventies when anything was possible, as for the first time music started to belong in the hands of musicians as opposed to greedy corporations who wanted to siphon off all self-expression, leave the music makers penniless, and grow rich and bloated on their corpses (much like today then). There are 17 songs on this album, and one never knows what is coming next as the only commonality are the three musicians involved, Michael Baxter, Corinne Rutherford and Chris Shennen. Michael provided all the songs, apart from two where the lyrics are by Corinne, and the three all share lead and backing vocals.
At times we head back into the Sixties, where songs such as You’d Waste It could easily have come from the early psychedelic period of Pink Floyd, while others have more in keeping with Elvis Costello, and others Nick Lowe, but all in that indie vein. The opening simplistic Rotten Vermicious Knids does not really give a full idea of what is to come, but when When Opposites CollidedI was immediately drawn in by the sheer depth and quality. We go through rock ‘n’ roll, proper New York-style punk and so much more in this 53-minute-long album, all with that wonderful independent alternative bent and the first time I played this I was so disappointed when it finished that I put it straight back on again! This is wonderfully compulsive listening which is putting two fingers up to the establishment and what people think belongs on the radio, and instead delivers hook after hook and is both engrossing and compelling. This may not be the mainstream path taken by so many, but the common way is often the most boring and sanitized, and this is definitely neither of those things.
8/10 Kev Rowland