The Boomtown Rats: Garry Roberts (guitar); Pete Briquette (bass guitar); Bob Geldof, Gerry Cott, Johnnie Fingers, Simon Crowe.
Personnel: Bob Geldof (vocals); Gerry Cott (guitar); Johnnie Fingers (keyboards); Simon Crowe (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Keiron McGarry.
Long before Bob Geldof was knighted for his charitable works, he was the frontman for a scrappy Irish rock band known as the Boomtown Rats. They were in on the first wave of UK punk, and while they were very much a part of that scene, they were one of the first groups (alongside the likes of the Buzzcocks, XTC, and the now-forgotten Advertising) to combine the raw energy of punk with pop melodies and song structures, and a more sophisticated approach to record-making. In effect, with their in-your-face dynamics, poppy hooks, and herky-jerky rhythms, the Rats were one of the original New Wave bands.
This excellent, near-definitive (radio fave "Up All Night" is omitted) career overview shows both the energy and passion that aligned the Rats with the punks (the furious "She's So Modern") and the songwriting and production know-how that set them apart ("Joey's on the Street Again"). With prominent keyboards (courtesy of the flamboyant Johnny Fingers) and strong Springsteen and Thin Lizzy influences, the Rats were destined from the start to leave their punk roots behind, and their more melodic, latter-day tracks ("Never in a Million Years," "Fall Down") show the vast strides the band made before splintering in the mid-1980s.