Review Revue: The Celibate Rifles – Blind Ear

It always does my heart good when a band’s Wikipedia entry starts with the present tense (“The Celibate Rifles are an Australian punk rock band… “). It lets me know that however long ago this band began (1978 or -9 for this particular Australian punk rock band, depending on whom you ask), their story is not over. In fact, sometimes you find out that if you live in Australia you can hear the band playing on a harbor cruise in Sydney.

30-plus years after inverting the Sex Pistols’ name for their own – probably as some punk rock combination of respect and its opposite – and 30-plus years after the Pistols’ implosion, the Rifles carry on, perhaps less known than their namesakes, but still active and arguably having more fun.

“This is rock + roll. Nicely done rock + roll. Way rockin’ rock + roll – yes, it’s definitely rock + roll.”

“I don’t know too much about this band besides the fact they come from Australia, but I like it. 1.1 and 1.3 rock straight-ahead. 1.4 reminds me of the Lime Spiders. Overall, better production than previous recordings . . .”

“1-5, too. This band rocks.”

“Move it up to M.”

“I’m only familiar with a couple of their many records, so I don’t know how this compares. Their lyrics have tended to strike me as a little self-conscious, but in general a really good band. But who cares what I think MAAAHK? . . .”

“This is Cellies’ most ‘commercial’ album – i.e. best produced, most varied, most specifically political lyrics. These are not recently discovered or articulated political leanings, but never have they filled a whole album. These guys have been at the top of their form since about 1986 – consistently mindblowing live shows, very assured songwriting, and Kelvin’s playing just gets better. (Kelvin = Kent Steedman.) On this one, 1-1 kills, 1-5 is pretty great, both 2-1, 2-2 (about Northern Island [Northern Ireland?]) are very good, ‘O Salvation’ is a rousing/anthemic closer. Note ‘Thirtysomething’-style guitar before the yuppie basher 1-5. This song was also on their previous LP. Pray for a tour. This LP came out in 1989 in Australia.”

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