So young? We weren’t even born mate. And yeah, these mod-punk lost boys lasted a sum total of two years (1979-80) and three recording sessions before they stubbed themselves out - still in their teens, ffs. No one really cared. But the two singles The Cigarettes managed to cut in their lifetime, and their songs about "politics, money, the media, prescription drugs, girlfriends...the usual", grew a bit of a cult around them, and in 2002 Detour Records' comp Will Damage Your Health made a comprehensive case for their cruelly overlooked brilliance.
This new 2LP, 22-track set from Optic Nerve is a welcome retread of Will Damage Your Health, which quickly became as rare and stupid-expensive as the original 7"s. It collects everything they ever recorded - the singles and their B-sides, unreleased rehearsal bits, local comp tracks, and the fruits of their solitary Peel session - and comes in gatefold sleeve with poster, sticker, badge and copious sleevenotes. The epic sneer-to-a-sigh of ‘You Were So Young’, which makes clear their debt to the wired garage of The Seeds, Electric Prunes et al, is a killer, but for me the holy trinity will always be a ‘Can’t Sleep At Night’’ (a suburban, rainy-grey UK premonition of Chrome’s ‘In A Dream’?!), the nihilistic trogged-out power-pop of ‘It’s The Only Way To Live (Die)’, and all-time favourite 'Screaming Dreaming', which pretty perfectly captures the cosmic injustice of having to grow up in '70s Lincoln.
Check the clips - best band!