The Clash

The Clash

Epic Records, 1977

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


It's practically inevitable to compare the Sex Pistols and the Clash. They were the most visable leaders of the punk movement in the late 70s. While each scared the shit out of people who were burning in the disco inferno, both groups took decidedly different means to bum rush the bloated music system. While the Pistols did most of their damage by means of shock, the Clash gave weight to the punk movement, lyrically and musically.

The Clash was a great introduction of what was to come of the band. The album kicks off with the hard edged "Clash City Rockers" and the Clash's version of "Anarchy In The U.K" with "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A". While some punk bands vehemently rebeled against the system, the Clash stood for something more important, people who honestly tried to fit in to the system and got screwed. What system, society, government, employment or anything that pissed them off at that time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Musically, the Clash proved to be miles above their peers for a number of reasons, which is evident on The Clash. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones turned out to be the Jagger/Richards of the punk movement. Strummer's bile spitting delievery matched with Jones's more melody oriented style fits perfectly with "London's Burning". Along with great musicians, the group also weaved in sounds of reggae as in "White Man In Hammersmith Palais". Studio legend Lee Perry lent his productive hand with "Complete Control". At the time when The Clash was released, punk's basic ethic was to say "piss off" to the past. The Clash was able to embrace the sounds of the past and mesh it effortlessly the sounds of the punk movement of the 70s.

The working class roots of the Clash are clearly shown on The Clash. The album almost loses something when you listen to it at home. I didn't really grow to appreciate this album until I stepped into this fairly large pub on a Sunday night. The crowd of students and working class stiffs who have no family to go home to was a fairly mellow lot. "White Man In Hammersmith Palais", "I Fought The Law" and "Career Opportunities" were played on the juke box. Each of those songs, and much of the album has that certain Irish pub sing along feel to it.

The Clash is a great introduction to a great band. A lot of the white noise of this album got fine tuned in the next couple of albums released, leading up to their finest work, London Calling. As the band matured, they became more serious musicians and the topics they wanted to address weren't nearly as broad as say "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A". For aggression sake though, few first albums achieve what The Clash achieved. Getting pissed off has rarely sounded this fun.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A


© 1997 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.