Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Newtown Neurotics - Footnote to a Punk Footnote

Browsing iTunes I stumbled across a half forgotten band from my teens. The Newtown Neurotics were never that big a name, even in their heyday. They dished out a kind of punk that sat somewhere between the Ramones and Billy Bragg and they hung around with the ranting poet Attila the Stockbroker. I saw them at a tiny festival in Bermondsey in the early 80's. They seemed a likable bunch and got the modest crowd bouncing around. Their most lasting legacy was the tub thumping anthem 'Lets Kick out the Tories'  a  song that  is as enthusiastic and na├»ve as the title suggests.

But listening to their stuff again, away from the rather obvious sloganeering there is something more interesting at work. The lyrics of  'Agony' and' Mind of Valerie' explore domestic violence, depression and compromised masculinity in a way that was pretty unusual for the early 80's. Lines like 'I know I am wrong, but the fury drives me on, cry is all I want to do, cry instead of bruising you' and 'whenever I get a bee in my bonnet its always you who gets stung' move the band into considerably more emotionally complex territory than most of their piers. Which kind of begs the question why would a band capable of this be satisfied with releasing a straight cover of Blitzkrieg Bop? Can't answer that one, but I am glad that this odd little footnote exists and hope that wherever they are today good things have come to them.