Two posts back, we were examining the disturbing, fake Revillos release that crept out of the basement in 1993. Maybe it was unplanned, or maybe it was because of that lame record, that the actual Revillos reformed for the first time in a decade in 1994! I was once again reading Goldmine Magazine and must have come across a set sale ad touting the new Revillos single, available on CD5, called “Yeah Yeah.”
The Revillos: Yeah Yeah UK CD5 
- Yeah Yeah [1994 version]
- Scuba Scuba [1994 Japanese version]
- Scuba Scuba [1994 version]
Obviously, as an old Revillos hack by 1994, I recognized three of the songs on this new CD single from their past. “Yeah Yeah” was a track from the life-changing “Rev-Up!” album and “Scuba Scuba” was a non-LP single recorded around the same 1981 window as that album. The latter was possibly one of my favorites by the combo. What would happen by taking songs originally released in 1981 and re-hashing them 13 [!] years later?
“Yeah Yeah” was always a hi-energy romp through their version of the Rock-A-Teens “Whoo-Hoo” with the all important lyric change. The production here sounded full-on go-for-the-throat as producer Jon McLoughlin [the alter ego of guitarist Kid Krupa] burnished the punk rock-meets-rockabilly intensity of the song to emphasize its holy supidity! The drums of Rocky Rhythm and guitars of Kid Krupa each get a massive 6 bars for their solos, which consisted of 48 identical notes! Bass player Mekon also got six bars but he actually played a solo that really went places rather than hammering down on the listener. I was shocked when Eugene Reynolds out of control sax solo was a mere four bars by comparison, but then all three instruments joined in unison on the climax for six bars together of relentless, pulsating rock and roll music. This might have one-upped the original for sheer relentless focus.
While the appearance of two older songs from their repertoire suggested that they might have indeed scrambled to get something [anything] in the marketplace to compete with the Revettes single, that didn’t mean that they had nothing impressive on hand to record. Fay Fife’s “Crush” was a letter perfect pastiche of her favorite girl-group sounds from the booming Shadow Morton drums of the intro to the urgent, Motown bass line that effortlessly propels the succinct, yet perfect, 3:00 pop opus. When it climaxed in a perfect dry, cold ending as Ms. Fife uttered the pet name “kitten,” it was a thing of joy. Strangely enough, the studio recording of this song was only on this single, though it appeared on the “Totally Alive” album too. Everything else [except this single] that The Revillos released that was recorded in the 90s was a live recording.
“Scuba Scuba” remained as gleeful a piece of pop mayhem as possible, though the intro with a delicate choir of angels duetting with an alphorn [?] was completely from left field for the first ten seconds before the frantic drums and cheesy organ of Ms. Fife catapulted the song from its starting line straight into Superville [home of The Revillos, naturally]. Rocky Rhythm’s fills were gleeful and precise, but the long [well, a half bar, but longer than any others in this song] fill after the middle eight was long enough to be panned from right to the left channel! Rapture! The Japanese version featured only the title in English. Every other word had been translated to Japanese, which with lyrics as loopy as these, must have been difficult. Actually, the song sounded completely natural in Japanese. Perhaps its ideal form, since the song sounded like J-pop group The Plastics from the get-go.
So this release jump-started The Revillos during their brief, but sweet, 90s phase that saw two live albums [one from Japan, one from England] as well as a clutch of compilations, unreleased albums from the 80s and even a few singles creep out of their freezer unit. An amazing period of releases that spanned from 1995 to 2003 before the Rezillos came back to take their rightful place in the Punk Rock pantheon. I love them both. Dearly. But the sense of berserk glee, Joe Meek style-production, and girl-group sounds [the only place where a hint of melancholy colors this day-glo world] just manage to give The Revillos the slight edge for me. I was thrilled to have them active since they threw in the towel before I really started paying attention to them. I never saw them, but I did manage that incredible Rezillos show in Washington D.C. at the Black Cat in 2002 with Chasinvictoria. What an experience that was!
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Truly one of my top 10 concerts ever, both for the “it’s like they never left” quality and for the esteemed company!
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