Q - 12/99, pp.152-33 stars out of 5
- "...their biggest seller, but the beginning of the end..."
Alternative Press - 3/00, pp.74-53 out of 5
- "...The penultimate Clash album...employing lessons learned in the previous three years....their most commercially rewarded release....containing [their] most poignant song 'Straight To Hell'..."
CMJ - 1/5/04, p.10Ranked #5
in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1982".
Also available in a 3-pack with THE CLASH and LONDON CALLING.
The Clash: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones (vocals, guitar); Paul Simonon (vocals, bass); Topper Headon (drums).
Additional personnel: Gary Barnacle (saxophone); Tymon Dogg (piano); Poly Mandrell (keyboards); Allen Ginsberg, Joe Ely, Ellen Foley, Futura 2000 (background vocals).
Digitally remastered by Ray Staff & Bob Whitney (Whitfield Street Studios, London, England).
It's not easy being the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band (a tag the Clash inherited from the Rolling Stones, who had traded their emotional commitment for tax exile). What you do after changing the world with your first few releases? The previous SANDINISTA was the Clash's WHITE ALBUM, exploring just about every musical style they could think of over the course of three LP's. COMBAT ROCK, then, could be their LET IT BE, an attempt to focus on visceral, accessible material, kidney-punching instead of bobbing and weaving.
There's an increased focus on funk here, as on the unlikely hit "Rock the Casbah" and "Overpowered by Funk." Naturally, there's also a pronounced political element to the lyrics (the anti-authoritarian rant of "Know Your Rights," the post-Vietnam morality play of the moving "Straight to Hell.") Despite the renewed sense of focus, though, there's still a high degree of artistic ambition revealed in both the polysyllabic lyrics and the textured, overdub-heavy arrangements.