The name "Subway Sect" is infamous in the UK Punk Rock family tree. Formed by "Vic Goddard" at the suggestion of "The Sex Pistols" Sven Gali "Malcolm McLaren", they secured an opening slot at the legendary 100 Club shows with Rotten and Co.
After releasing the seminal "Nobody's Scared" 7" single for Clash manager "Bernie Rhoades'" "Braik Records", Vic and his fellow upstarts were due to record their debut long player with Clash producer "Mickey Foote". Then in early 1978 with the album ready to release, without warning the master tapes from the sessions went "missing" and the legendary status of the album was born.
Finally in October 2007, the now regrouped "Subway Sect's" legendary debut album will be getting a full UK release some 29 years after it was originally slated for release. Jeez this makes "Def Leppard" and "Boston" seem like studio "Speedy Gonzales" by comparison.
Built around the nihilistic lost soul that is "Vic Goddard" "1978 Now" features the 14 tracks from the album sessions recorded with their original spirit and sound.
Personally, I've never been a fan of "Vic's" output but the enigmatic charm of tracks like "We Oppose Rock N Roll" and "Chainsmokin" aren't lost on me. This album has an almost (and Vic will probably hate me for this) "Brothers of The Head" feel about it that means songs chug along on clean guitars and a curled lip more "Elvis" than "John Beverly". Fans of "Libertines/Strokes" should hang their heads in shame to think that their idols get all the credit for something bands like "Subway Sect" (or "Television" in the US) fought long and hard to do some 30 years ago.
That's not to say Vic wasn't without his own influences even when constructing this opus way back in the late 70's. There is a strong "Bowie" vibe running through "Not Watchin' the Devil" and the guitars on "Exit No Return" have a certain "Verlaine"esque feel to them without ever falling into rip off territory.
So for an album that has taken 29 years to get released "Vic Goddard" must now at long last be able to sleep at night safe in the knowledge he has exorcised his demons by getting this labour of love released.
As I said, it's not really my cup of tea music wise, but the guts and guile of tracks like "Stool Pigeon" or "Stand Back" make it a winner for the old school rockers.
3 our of 5
by Johnny H.
Visit the Subway Sect Website