They started out fast and furious, but the Ruts' first recordings
barely hinted at what was to come, so it's a good thing perhaps
that the "Stepping Bondage" EP only arrived posthumously. Instead
of that record, however, Britain was introduced to the band via
their "In a Rut" single in early 1979, an aggressive, ominous 45
that dripped with menace and desolation. Their "Babylon's Burning"
single was even more malevolent, and although it was a belligerent
battering of hardcore music without a syncopated beat in sight, its
Rastafarian-inspired lyrics linked the band with the burgeoning
roots scene that was storming Britain's barricades. With "Jah War,"
itself inspired by recent riots, the Ruts made roots reggae their
own, unleashing the most powerful white reggae record, hand's down.
But the Ruts were never to be tied to one genre or sound, "War"'s
follow-up, "Staring at the Rude Boys," was a tribute to the rise of
mods, while "West One" enveloped glam rock, hard rock, and even
pop. Yet the band was never attempting to be all things to everyone
in hopes of smashing the charts. No, they weren't chameleons, just
music lovers trying to bring all the sounds they loved to their own
songs. In their all too brief career, the quartet achieved that
brilliantly across a mere six singles and one album. But The Punk
Singles Collection doesn't end with the 45s recorded during the
band's life span, nor even at the posthumous, aforementioned EP,
released a year after Malcolm Owen's death and the band's demise.
No, instead of going out on a downer, the set looks forward to the
future, and closes with the Ruts D.C.'s debut single. With all the
band's A- and B-sides present and accounted for, this is the Ruts
story, and a glorious tale it was. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
Pop / Rock
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||In A Rut
||Something That I Said
||Give Youth A Chance
||I Ain't Sofisticated
||Staring at the Rude Boys
||Love in Vain
||West One (Shine On Me)
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