A memory of the sublime excellence of Do Anything You Wanna Do brought me here. The song doesn't appear on this album, but the cover imprinted itself on me a long time ago when my mum used to drop me off at Midland Educational in Stratford-upon-Avon. I'd go to the back of the store and rifle through the punk section, studying the covers and wondering what the hell they sounded like - this, the UK Subs, the Rezillos and others. I sort of knew what punk was, and that there probably wouldn't be much point in my buying the record even had it been within the range of my pocket money. I doubt my parents would have banned it from the house, but they would have looked at me funny.
With just a cover to go on, I formed vague ideas about how punky and nihilistic the bands were, and this one scored highly, even before I realised it was the band who sang Do Anything You Wanna Do; this one and Ha Ha Ha by Ultravox, which was actually a bit of a let down when I finally heard it. Teenage Depression, however, far surpasses my admittedly nebulous expectations.
Of course, with hindsight, whether or not Edward and his Hot Rods were really a punk band depended on where you were stood at the time, and no longer seems to matter so much as it did when I was thirteen. They looked a bit like some bemulleted glam band without the glitter, additionally qualifying as pub rock on a technicality, and one of them ended up in the Damned, and now I think of it, there's not a whole lot of difference between this and the first Damned album; but then, the group didn't actually incorporate anyone called Eddie. Everything we ever thought we knew is wrong.
Teenage Depression chugs and rocks like a bastard, including five covers - The Kids Are Alright, 96 Tears and so on - belted out with such passion as to blend seamlessly with the rest; and then there's the truly magnificent On the Run which could almost be Hawkwind at their mind-bending, biking peak. The title track, a deceptively chirpy amphetamine rocker cheerily bemoans the misery of school, hating having to wear a tie, stuck in some shitty lesson gagging for your next line of nose candy. Try telling kids today what it was like and they won't believe you.
I expected a lot from this record on the strength of the cover, and amazingly it delivers. What a fucking great band this lot were!