The Reply were from Washington DC in the 1980's and were obsessed with The Jam and the Modern World and how to fit in with it. This album collects all the stuff they recorded between 1986-9. They only put out one 4 track Ep back then, they have added another 13 songs to that miniscule output giving us recordings of the songs they played live while doing shows with among others The Toasters, Bim Skala Bim and NY Citizens. To me they are another good lost band from the late 80's this time from the Mod Ska punk revival scene.
The album opens with the keyboard driven Mirror Image that has a similar sound to The Favourites with a healthy does of the Only Ones musically while the vocals sound a lot like Paul Weller as they search for a new world it also has an inimitable dub dance breakdown ending.
Nothing More has a militant agit-jangle feel for a song about being somewhere with nothing to do and being pushed around and sounds a bit like Graham Parker And The Rumour, they have a taut dubby interlude and some incongruous but very 80's keyboard sounds.
Life's Little Victories has the urgency of say Secret Affair with a skanking edge to it as they hope to make sure you know that your one of Life's Little Victories and not wallow in misery or throw it all away.
Razor Sharp is obviously musically inspired by The Jam's That's Entertainment as they yearn to be Razor Sharp in everything to do, and it could also be as sharp as you feel after cutting a line with a razor.
A Scream feels like a kitchen sink drama style as we find out exactly what A Scream was all about as the keyboards seem to have gone a little bit Jimmy Smith even if the rest of the band are kicking it along playing a mod Hit.
All Good Things Keeps them sounding a lot like The Jam but with more of a ska edge to them on a song about the assassination of Olaf Palm and all kinds of senseless violence, I'm trying to remember if it was KSMB who were the last band I heard sing about Olaf Palm's death.
With A Purpose goes all Graham Bond Organization original mod frenzy on a tune that is perfect for a dance floor frenzy as you figure out what metal tune that bass line is stolen from.
Wake Up is a clarion call to action go on get up and make the world a better more peaceful place that seems very now with its theme of being in a brick throwing riot.
Work It Out is an urgent plea for love on a tune that sounds like it should have been covered by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones it is also very danceable.
Billy sounds like The Terrorists going Reggae punk but with a more Paul Wellerish vocals on it, a good mash up and works but they should have been bolder with the vocal effects.
Dead To Rights is another The Terrorists style dubplate rocker with soulful vocals with militant lyrics as they have you dead to rights again with the difficulty of bringing about effective change from within the system with a mighty keyboard solo.
Sneak Preview is probably the first properly guitar driven song on the album, although the bass-line makes it for me as they try to get rid of those angry feelings.
In the Door is a plea to be allowed in and be given a chance in an amphetamine driven almost jangle pop song well until the Barracuda style bass solo comes in that is.
Remember is about feeling like an outsider and getting bullied for looking or behaving differently as you start to realise you have to ignore the bullies and just be yourself, this feels nostalgic for a youth long gone, which as this lot were teenagers at the time is quite something. It has a similar sound to The Favourites or The Razorblades.
Apology revolves around a mighty bass line as they beg forgiveness for what they've done and how following the crowd and how they behave isn't always smart.
Don't Stand Me Down has a very 80's style intro as they tell you to stop all your bullying and it sounds like it's aimed at the Police and authorities as they want to make the city they live in a better place than it is and in that they have common cause with bands like McCarthy although The Reply are far less Marxist than them. It also has the sort of chorus that should have been a huge sing along anthem live.
They close with For Long a skanking funky party tune with a message about dressing however you choose and having whatever haircut you like at the sort of party where you'd play The Terrorists and The Toasters while wanting to be in The Beat (Or English Beat if you are in the USA).
Find out more https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-complete-collection/1510184856?fbclid=IwAR0vlm-SOwvwkKq1_6bUfbucGMBRtxpUC263RLebrq2Vi8WUaxI_AWu3yfM https://www.facebook.com/TheReplyDC/