Cyclic Amp ‎– Shrapnel In The Toyshop

[Reviewed by stark]

This is a 2CD release recounting the short, but intense career of Cyclic Amp, a post-punk band from Liverpool. I think it contains most of the songs they’ve shown to the world on various releases. I can’t say I knew this group in the late 80s, because in those years I was pulling girl’s pigtails in the preliminary school… as for my tastes, their music was too coarse and wild to ever flirt with the mainstream.

In total we have 30 songs here, taken from the “Ugly As Power” EP, “People Of The Book” LP, “Concrete Island” EP plus several demo versions and live recordings. For what I see, Final Muzik didn’t include the material from their cassette EP “A Certain Sacrifice” with the covers of – among others – Bruce Springsteen and Kenny Rogers. I think it was the music of its times, music of angry youth trying to fight the system, seeing Margaret Thatcher as a mortal enemy. I can easily imagine these guys being from working class families, avoiding school in the mornings, fighting with parents in the evenings, playing small gigs in lousy clubs and hoping that their voice will be heard all over England. How many stories like this have we heard in the past?

They didn’t make it. Maybe they started too late, because in the late 80s the genre in its primal foundation was already in demise, while things like gothic or cold wave have shined brightly. But today it still can be impressive as an honest portrait of the youthful spirit of those times. The music is angry and rough. Hardly melodic, these are like the short outbursts of aggression intensified by the harsh vocal manner of Steve Richmond. The inspiration from The Fall is present, but pushed into the background, while the main priorities are insane vocals, raving, often feedbacking guitars and industrial noises in the vein of Throbbing Gristle. On top of that, gothic influences spread here and there (“Human God” for example).

Fairy interesting album; a decent document for those who missed this band in the past and I’ll bet there are a lot.

Cyclic Amp ‎– Shrapnel In The Toyshop
Final Muzik, FME8
CD/Digital 2015

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