Along with the Toy Dolls and Peter And The Test Tube Babies, The Adicts were part of a movement within a movement I've seen classified as "fun Oi!". While street-punk pioneers such as Sham 69, Cock Sparrer and The Business occasionally had their humorous turns, the eternal cut-ups were far more interested in going to the pub with Harry rather than using his influence to unite the kids. Donned in droog costumes straight from the wardrobe of "A Clockwork Orange" and fronted by a "Monkey" man in joker paint, The Adicts were the class clowns of '82 UK punk. Stage props like confetti, beach balls, toy instruments and bubbles enhanced their yearbook superlative. Who else would discuss a fruitless search for food ("Chinese Takeaway"), "lament" over a lost love ("My Baby Got Run Over By A Steamroller") and express a genuine appreciation for classical music ("Ode To Joy") in the midst of serious sloganeering from other outfits? Familiar inflections from vocalist Keith "Monkey" Warren are perhaps The Adicts' most amusing aspect. Josh swears up and down that it's Robert Smith from The Cure masquerading as a punk rocker. Sounds legit to me. Maybe Smith listened to The Dickies as much as David Bowie in his early days. Plus, we all know the man's no stranger to applying makeup.
OK, cancel some of what I said above. Songs Of Praise has been in my stash for over fifteen years, and this is the first time I've really studied the lyrics. Behind the cloud of cosmetics is a band who really gives a damn. Didn't mean to imply otherwise. Onward...
"I Don't Wanna Die For England" makes a terse, anti-war statement of not wanting to "hear the bugle call." "Sensitive" adds more heft to the Robert Smith theory ("If I say something wrong/You might start to cry/I don't wanna get you down/Don't wanna make you cry"). "Viva La Revolution" has the empowering lines ("Long live the people/Long live the scheme/Long live our hopes/Long live the dream") and endless title chants to join Jimmy Pursey and his "Borstal Breakout." Individuality is ironically endorsed in "Just Like Me." In lieu of my retraction, there are plenty of party favors. A former friend of mine once termed Pete "Dee" Davison's stringing on "Peculiar Music" as "Egyptian guitar." Well, the reissue of Songs Of Praise is on Cleopatra...Pete's bro, "Kid Dee," adds a lead vocal to his drumsticks on "Mary Whitehouse" and spouts about "pornography on the BBC." "Get Adicted" is a rousing recruiting pitch and a band theme song all in one. The last dance is saved for "Tango" ("We drank champagne/We danced again/We had laughter/And then after...").
I once saw Ozzy Osbourne wearing an Adicts T-shirt in a magazine. What would be the ratio from London oddsmakers that he's actually heard the band? 666:1, most likely.