Call me a purist or anything else, but my opinion is that a Punk band without a hot first record is guaranteed to fail and doesn’t deserve a second chance either. Bad luck with the sound engineer? Forget it! The singer had the flu that day? Cheap excuse! The real guitarist died in a plane crash? Who cares! I’d even go one step further and say: a great band needs only one good album as long as it’s the first.
Of course, GBH doesn’t have just one good album, but City Baby Attacked by Rats from 1982 is one of those LPs which has played its way into my heart. 34 minutes full of fast, dirty and raw Punk Rock, starting with the ticking of a clock (Time Bomb). It continues with Sick Boy, a song which makes me feel like I was 18 again. I’m a sick boy and there’s no cure – well, there is nothing more to say except that everybody should know this classic. The 2-3 Songs after Wardogs plod along a bit and yes, Slut as seen from a today’s point of view is definitely not correct but dispensable for good reasons. For that, I’m The Hunted forms a worthy completion of side A.
Yeah, that’s it. Just relax. Have another beer, a few more joints, sniff a little more glue or have a bottle of Coca Cola light. Go to the turntable, change from Side A to Side B and enjoy. Enjoy Side B, which starts off with the title track City Baby Attacked By Rats!
Your brain is getting eaten away by the rat living in your skull – I don’t know if the song was meant that way, but for me it is a pretty nice homage to the one and only heraldic animal of the punk movement. City Baby Attacked By Rats is a classic as well and should also have been blown through every Punk Rock ear canal. The next three songs are absolutely okay and catchy but do not necessarily have to be described in detail. Song five on the B-Side, however, can’t be past over so easily. Boston Babies is a cover of the 77’ Manchester based Punk Band Slaughter & the Dogs. I like the original, I like the cover version and I like both bands. The Song is the second big highlight on the B-Side and should be known by all – no matter in which version. The LP ends with Bellend Bop, a quite funny crossover to Rock’n’Roll. I met you at a party, it was 10 pm, I was outside being sick so I came inside again – he who does not know that feeling, shall throw the first stone! This is also the end of my review. GBH from Birmingham still exist and the original LP (released on Clay Records) is still available on Discogs or similar platforms for a little over 30 Euros.
– Written by Martin Murpott