The somewhat esteemed Robert Christgau said when this came out in May 1982, “as a moralistic square, I protest…” Which is praise in a Fear fan’s ears, who are no doubt a bit square themselves and not immune to the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ paradigm. Hate to see that effluence.
That said, a re-recorded reissue of The Record, which was transcendent when first issued doesn’t work in the least. The music, aped note-for-note from the original recording, now sounds too comedic, a joke no longer funny on too many re-tellings.
It was always about the Decline… performance with Fear for me, a raging bit of theater, wholly transparent, showing some older gents taken with this punk thing. If they were Brits, they would have been The Guildford Stranglers, hopping onto the bandwagon, dropping “Guildford” and riding the rails to semi-fame. At least The Stranglers made four great albums. It’s easy to respect Fear singer/pointman Lee Ving, a faux punk rock renaissance man whose talents extend way beyond Fear as a bit actor and musician with varied tastes.
Fear has managed barely a handful of LPs over its too long career, always well received but never well done after 1982's The Record. Better to allow this one to fade away. [The End]
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