The Bollock Brothers – “Never Mind The Bollocks 1983” (1983)

So the other day I picked up a 12″ record by The Bollock Brothers.  It was decent, but what caught my attention was learning that in 1983 they covered the entirety of the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks, but did it in a kind of electro style.  I’m not sure if this is advanced or overt, but either way it was interesting.  And lo and behold, what did I come across the other day at Silver Platters?  The new re-release of Never Mind The Bollocks 1983 on pink vinyl.  How could I say no?

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Never Mind The Bollocks 1983 is primarily electronic, both in the percussion and the use of synths.  Vocally it’s somewhat true to the original, sneeringly half-spoken-half-sung in a way that isn’t at all pretty but does convey a certain attitude.  It’s a weird juxtaposition, one all the more odd because of how familiar the source material is, the sterility of the music coupled with the passive-aggressive signing.  Some songs like “No Feeling” are straight-up new wave, while others have more of an edge to them.  Sonically it wanders around a bit, sometimes a little Devo-ish, others like something that would have appeared on an episode of Sprockets. (♠)

As if the album concept wasn’t weird enough, Never Mind The Bollocks 1983 is also notable for its inclusion of Jimmy Lydon and Michael Fagan.  Lydon was the brother of Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, so that bit makes sense.  Fagan is a more unique character, having become famous in the UK for breaking into Buckingham Palace not once but twice, the second time making it all the way into the Queen’s bedroom, which woke her up.  Needless to say, this was a bit of a scandal, since that kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen.  So of course The Bollock Brothers had him sing “God Save The Queen,” because why wouldn’t you?  This feels a bit more overt than advanced to me, but I’m open to being wrong on that.

I’m guessing the appeal of this one is a bit limited, but it has it’s place, and it’s surprisingly good.  You can check out Fagan’s version of the Pistols’ most famous song below and decide for yourself.

(♠)  Now is ze time on Sprockets ven ve dance!