Album #6: Chelsea – Chelsea

  • Released: 1979
  • Origin: London, England
  • Label: Step-Forward
  • Best Track: Twelve Men

My exploration of Penetration (fnarr fnarr!) this weekend has led me to another slightly off-the-radar British punk band in Chelsea. Later to be joined by Portishead in a small group of British bands who use their place of origin as their name, Chelsea are perhaps best known as the first musical foray of Billy Idol, and for three of their original members going on to found the slightly more widely known Generation X.

As I said in the Nick Cave review, I’m going to have to be a bit more to-the-point with these reviews. This self-titled debut is a solid punk record. ‘Twelve Men’ is a glorious, rousing earworm, and I love the drawn-out, anxious rumbling of ‘Government’ – interestingly, this album was released just one month into what would be an 18-year-long Conservative reign, and concludes with what sounds like audio clips of Margaret Thatcher and news reports on the Tories, over which Gene October bellows “the governmeeeeeeeeent! Suck on that, Maggie!

The band perhaps ranks alongside Sham 69 as an example of working-class London punk that hasn’t aged quite as well as some of their contemporaries, but should be seen as a fitting snapshot of the fear and paranoia of a political time not unlike 2020.

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