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GBH | Cruel and Unusual | review | punk | Lollipop
Cruel and Unusual (Idol)
by Nairobi Collins
First off, this is not the long-awaited next record we've all been waiting for. GBH is working on the follow-up to HA HA right now, with half an album's worth of material ready and another half in the works. What we have here is some classic fuckin' punk rock! Cruel and Unusual is an album of 10 songs with six compiled from the Punk As Fuck EP (1987 recordings of Rezillos and Lurkers covers plus a 1989 cover of a Sensational Alex Harvey Band song), the Punk Rock Ambulance EP, and four live tracks recorded in 2002. If you are new to GBH, this may not be the album for you, but if you're a hardcore GBH fan, this'll remind you of why you fell in love with punk rock. Cruel and Unusual is an album of good ole' punk from "back in the day" and a taste of GBH in all their present glory.
Truthfully, the tracks are really raw, but that's not to say they're hard on the ears. Cruel and Unusual is for hardcore fans of GBH and punk in general. If you're a collector, you may already have most of this stuff in your collection, but if you're like me and have missed a few releases here and there, this is the best thing to add to your library.
The best tracks in my book are "Punk Rock Ambulance" and "Three Piece Suit." The production of the disc as a whole is pretty clean, meaning that there are no weird volume issues or crackles in the recording as with some of the earlier GBH re-releases. If you're really savvy in your collecting, you'll also know about the Japanese version that was released previous to this one. It has a couple of different tracks and a Geisha girl version of the punk chick gracing the cover.