A Tonic For The Troops - US Version


1. Rat Trap

2. Me and Howard Hughes
3. (I Never Loved) Eva Braun
4. Living in an Island
5. Like Clockwork"(Geldof, Briquette, Crowe)
6. Blind Date
7. Mary of the Fourth Form (from the UK The Boomtown Rats)
8. Don't Believe What You Read
9. She's So Modern (Geldof, Fingers)
10. Joey's on the Street Again (from the UK The Boomtown Rats)

Sleeve Notes from the remastered CD release
A TONIC FOR THE TROOPS by Allan Jones

The Boomtown Rats release A Tonic For The Troops in June 1978, when I review it at some length for what used to be Melody Maker, I think at the time it's the year's best rock album along with Elvis Costello's This Year's Model. What a gas, then, to report that listening to the album again for the first time in 26 years, I am much less embarrassed by the record than I am by the review of it that appeared in MM all those years ago, which seems to have been written by someone for whom English is, at best, a second language.Of course, being a fan of The Boomtown Rats back then is not in everyone's opinion a terribly cool thing to be. At the time of which I'm writing, in fact, the Rats are much frowned upon by punk hardliners and the critical Taliban who support them, according to whom Geldof and the Rats are shallow, self-serving, opportunistic, cynical manipulators, new wave lightweights with no genuine punk credentials though Geldof never claimed any - in fact the opposite.

Still - Looking After Number One, the band's first hit single is, predictably and mistakenly wheeled out as evidence for the prosecution's allegations of preening self-regard, which their critics evidently think compares poorly with the rebel affectations of The Clash or the ranting nihilism of The Sex Pistols.The Rats were a great band and at their best - which is where A Tonic For The Troops surely finds them - had a rare talent for clever modern pop (here exemplified by Like Clockwork and She's So Modern, both hit singles), bolstered by an enduring affection for the swashbuckling guitar-driven rock'n'roll of the Stones (Blind Date) that even at its most brazenly commercial boasted a large measure of intelligence, wit and stylistic panache.


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