Digipack CD edition. The most impressive, but also the most overlooked of all the bands that lurched around the mutant extremes that trail through Gang of Four, the Mekons, and, ultimately, the Pop Group, the Glaxo Babies' debut album was actually cut following the collapse of the original band -- both vocalist/songwriter Rob Chapman and drummer Geoff Alsopp had departed, with saxophonist Tony Wrafter explaining the reason for the rift. "Rob was into songs and we weren't." Too true! Under Chapman's aegis, Glaxo Babies stormed to attention via the astonishing "Christine Keeler" 45, and the This Is Your Life EP. Without him -- well, the band is still interesting, still enjoyable, still a lot better than almost anybody else trying to make these kind of points at the tail-end of the '70s. But there's a startled-insect fussiness to too much of the album. Still, when it's good, it's exhilarating. The metronome pulse that powers "Promised Land" conjures images of Neu!, if Rome was burning behind them, while the thunderous funk of "Maximum Sexual Joy" retained such a place in the band's heart that, when pressure from the "real" Glaxo (a pharmaceutical company) forced them to change their name, they simply abbreviated the song's title. "This Is Your Vendetta," meanwhile, is a sub-seismic rumble that makes the walls vibrate before you actually hear any sounds, and it all leads up to "Shake," which could be Chic, it's so infectiously brittle. Still, you can't help feeling that Nine Months to the Disco was a lost opportunity -- half a genuinely great LP, and half a bunch of art students trying to sound clever (with some success, one might add). So approach with caution, and prepare for the occasional disappointment. But only the occasional one. Nine Months to the Disco remains an astonishing slab of vinyl (AMG)
1980, Recorded and mixed at Crescent Studios, Bath.