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GIRLSCHOOL Screaming Blue Murder
Sanctuary CMRCD958

Play Dirty Sanctuary CMRCD959

Castle continue their sterling job on the already much reissued Girlschool back catalogue. With the first two albums done earlier this year that may be considered classic, these two are actually better sets.

Coming out of the NWoBHM scene, the south London girls had already flirted with success and the chart, most noteably with the collaboration with Motorhead. But while the early work had a punk energy, the third and fourth albums would be far more polished, professional and consistent while retaining the high energy metal edge.

Screaming Blue Murder (*****) kicks off with the storming title track and follows neatly with a cover of the Rolling Stonesí 'Live With Me'. 'Wildlife' features a quirky catchy off beat, and 'It Turns Your Head Around' is just a metal classic too. The highlight is the strong 'Donít Call It Love' which, as part of the Wildlife EP, should have done so much better in the singles chart. The album is complemented by some decent sleevenotes, a non album b-side and 10 live tracks from London, June 1982.

1983 and Play Dirty (*****) produced a whole new sound - almost Def Leppardish in places. A glam edge too - a cover of '20th Century Boy' and production by Sladeís Jim Lea and Noddy Holder. But itís a great set and much underrated. A new direction the band pull off well without losing their roots completely. The occasional keyboards fit in great, and the cover of ĎBurning In The Heatíí is a real master piece.

Again the release is complemented by sleevenotes and a plethora of bonus tracks (including the dreadful '1-2-3-4 RockíníRoll' which the band now distance themselves from).

Despite all the reissues - these are pretty much the definitive versions and well worth searching out.

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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