The Scientists - Not For Sale: Live 1978/79 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Scientists - Not For Sale: Live 1978/79

by Kevin Orton Rating:7 Release Date:2019-06-28
The Scientists - Not For Sale: Live 1978/79
The Scientists - Not For Sale: Live 1978/79

There’s nothing like ‘Swampland’ era Scientists. Post Punk at its finest. Dark, swampy and laced with a Psychedelic mix of Gun Club, Captain Beefheart and The Stooges. If not familiar proceed immediately to their compilation, Blood Red River: 1982-1984. It’s the Scientists at their height. Before that incarnation, however, there was a more straightforward band finding their way about and trying to have a good time in the process.

Not For Sale Live 1978/79 is pretty self-explanatory. This is basically a live bootleg comp covering the years 1978-79.  ‘Have You Seen My Baby’ and ‘I’m Looking For You’ are no frills Rock with lyrics that pretty much go in one ear and out the other. ‘Melodramatic Touch’ hints at their later 80's work but goes to show that the Scientists were pretty much a party band at this point. ‘Sorry Sorry Sorry’ is pretty catchy Punk while ‘That Girl’ is pure Power Pop. These are recordings of live shows so don’t come here looking for great sound quality or the moody likes of ‘Swampland’. ‘The Shadows of the Night’ is noisy Bo Diddley beat Rock with a DIY Punk attitude.

The furiously delirious, ‘Girl’ reveals just what the appeal was early on.  ‘Frantic Romantic’ was turning point single for the band and live, it doesn’t disappoint. A sneering mix of sarcasm and abject heartbreak. Going to show that behind every cynic is a hopeless romantic. ‘Last Night’ is the sort of thing to make you dance and clap along while ‘Walk The Plank’ sounds like it could fall apart at any moment.

A key influence can be seen in their cover of the Undertones’ classic, ‘Teenage Kicks’. It could serve as the motto for this phase of the Scientists. Not only did they show great taste, but they could also rock as hard as their influences. By contrast, ‘Baby You're Not For Sale’ kicks off with some epic Who riffing with vocals that are a little more on the sour, brooding side. Again hinting at the darker waters the band would later wade into. Lyrics like, “I’ll take you to the movies and then we can listen to the Groovies” go to show they didn’t start off with any literary pretensions. Something that would serve them as they veered down more artistic alleyways.

‘Slow Death’ reveals how much influence Radio Birdman had on the band. ‘Shake (Together Tonight)’ mixes Radio Birdman and Stooges with the Undertones’ sense of Pop. Another major influence rears its head in their cover of the New York Dolls’ classic, ‘Pills’. If that weren’t enough there’s also a cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘There She Goes’.

Clearly, this set is for die-hard fans, not beginners seeking an introduction. The sound quality varies and it's clear this is a band out to have a good time while they tried to find their own unique sound. For fans, a fascinating and priceless document.

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