The Stiffs CD: "Stiffology 1981-1988"

Sleeve and track listing

Angel Air SJPCD062. (3 stars!)

  1. Crazy Mixed-Up Emotion
  2. Standing Ovation
  3. Your Passenger
  4. Hook In Your Heart
  5. Child's Play
  6. Over The Balcony
  7. Standing Ovation
  8. Best Place In Town
  9. Peso Trail
  10. Stand Up
  11. Never Gonna Let You Down
  12. Blaze Of Love
  13. Look, Don't Touch
  14. Rocket Ship
  15. In Your World
  16. Tonight We Dance
  17. Running In The Rain

Review

The Stiffs. A name unfamiliar to most, so let me elucidate. Hailing from Blackburn in Lancashire, they started gigging in 1977 although it would be 1980 before they secured a recording contract. A trifle late, as their style (at least initially) was decidedly punky.

Like on the opening track Crazy Mixed-Up Emotion from 1981, with a great hookline and chorus. Like any up and coming band, they managed to secure a BBC "John Peel" session, which included the great Hook In Your Heart and Standing Ovation, both again complete with infectious hooks that'll have you humming along like a long-time fan. These sessions are also notable for including BBC producer (and one-time Mott The Hoople drummer) Dale Griffin on drums after their sticksman couldn't make the session.

A name change to Idol Rich failed to have the desired effect, despite the strength of the material (such as Stand Up with its decidedly live feel). Ditto the Vicious Rumours, so 1985 saw The Stiffs resurrected once more, here represented with In Your World with another trademark singalong chorus and a great guitar hook. It was not to be, and in 1988 they finally called it a day.

OK, so The Stiffs never made the big time, but this collection of tracks spanning their career shows that had they had proper record company support first time aroung things may have turned out differently. In the context of this website MTH drummer features on four tracks, but that shouldn't matter. What matters is the music, and if you give this disc a spin you won't be disappointed.

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