Album review: THE MEMBERS – Greatest Hits

THE MEMBERS - Greatest Hits

Cadiz Music [Release date 10.11.17]

The Members have recorded for labels including Beggars Banquet, Stiff, Virgin, Island and Cadiz Music and been signed by amongst others Dave Robinson, Richard Branson and Clive Davis. This compilation gathers together for the first time the band’s singles across these various labels.

Their peak period was between 1977 and 1983 when they disbanded. During this time they scored their biggest UK hit (number 12 in 1979) and their most recognisable song, ‘The Sound Of The Suburbs’. ‘Offshore Banking Business’ with its ska/Two Tone and reggae beat was the band’s only other top 40 UK hit to date. The song recently got more airplay due to the Panama Papers disclosures which this song, along with ‘International Financial Crisis’, saw the band cleverly predict future financial events. ‘Working Girl’ was a US hit, highlighting the band’s knack of penning everyday life stories with a memorable melody and the distinctive vocals of Nicky Tesco.

The band reformed in 2007 with Tesco on vocals, although he left in 2009 leaving JC Carroll and Chris Payne as the remaining members from the band’s late 70′s days. Half of this compilation comes from the post-2007 period including the power pop of ‘English Girls’ (shades of latter day Damned on this one and a great song) and a new song, the topical ‘Smartphone Junkie’. Two bonus songs, one of which is a punked up run through the Move classic ‘Fire Brigade’, complete with ‘Oi!’ chants on the chorus. Certainly a radical take on the original!

The Members straddled a fair few musical genres from reggae/ska through to punk and power pop, which may have led to them not getting the follow on success from their first couple of UK hits. Certainly worth exploring and their latter day songs show they are not done yet. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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