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Glaxo Babies - Put Me on the Guest List (1980)

Glaxo Babies were a post-punk band based in Bristol, England. The foursome was initially vocalist Rob Chapman, guitarist/vocalist Dan Catsis (ex-Pop Group), drummer Geoff Alsopp, and bassist Tom Nichols. They released the This Is Your Life EP in 1979; by the time of the Christine Keeler single months later, a few changes to the lineup were made. Most significantly, Charles Llewelyn took over for Alsopp on drums and Tony Wrafter (another ex-Pop Group member) added saxophone. Chapman then left, and the remaining members recorded the entirety of 1980's Nine Months to the Disco, their debut LP for Heartbeat, within the span of a single day. For the following Limited Entertainment EP (also released in 1980), Glaxo Babies temporarily hooked up with the Y label. And finally, Put Me on the Guest List, yet another 1980 release, collected demos of the band's Chapman era. They apparently broke up at some point after its release; Catsis and Wrafter became part of Maximum Joy. In the mid-'80s, Chapman and Catsis re-formed Glaxo Babies with Llewelyn on drums. They were together for several years, the results eventually appearing on the compilation The Porlock Factor: Psych Drums and Other Schemes 1985-1990. (Andy Kellman)

A somewhat ramshackle collection of songs drawn from Glaxo Babies' original, and possibly superior incarnation -- ten songs drawn from the band's debut EP This Is Your Life, and the session for what would have been their debut album, had frontman Rob Chapman not been jettisoned midway through. And it has to be said that, when lined up alongside Nine Months to the Disco, Put Me on the Guest List is the stronger offering, song for song. The difference was, as Tony Wrafter pointed out, the band wasn't into songs any longer. Cast firmly in a mold that would now be compared to Gang of Four if they weren't so precious, the likes of "This Is Your Life," the frenetic "Police State," and "Who Killed Bruce Lee" are effortlessly danceable, twitchy, itching numbers that hang around for just the right amount of time, and then make way for the next convoluted stomp. The smoothly flowing "Avoiding the Issue," meanwhile, packs one of the most contagious choruses of the age -- "can I leave the table, mummy?," and really should have been out as a single. The absence of what was then the band's best-known number, "Christine Keeler," does somewhat defuse the album's attempts to turn the historical clock back. But still, anybody mourning the death of this most dramatic incarnation of the magical Glaxos wasn't going to allow that to stand in the way of what ranked among the most eagerly awaited albums of the year. (Dave Thompson)

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