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19-11-2017 09:44
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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Critical Mass - 1980 It's What's Inside That Counts
Critical Mass - 1980 It's What's Inside That Counts

ARTIST: Critical Mass
ALBUM: It's What's Inside That Counts
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Mick Fazz - vocals, guitars * David Owen - guitar * Henri Laplume - bass * Michael Barone - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Run Away * 02 Kerosene On Candlelight * 03 Faraway * 04 1964 * 05 Message On The Wind * 06 Who Can You Trust * 07 London * 08 You Don't Mean That Much To Me * 09 Modern Man * 10 Faded Portrait

It was a long way from the pristine beaches of sunny South Florida to Yes' Chris Squire's Sun Park studios in the rolling hills of Surrey England, but that's where Miami based Critical Mass recorded their one and only long player for MCA and I imagine they had one helluva good time. Indeed, Critical Mass, or 'The Mass' as they are still affectionately referred to, formed in 1974 by guitarist/vocalist Mick Fazz, the only the guy to stick it out up until the bands final days in 1993. Critical Mass were a big draw from Miami to Orlando and all points in-between with their wild rock 'n' roll attitude and British styled punked up power pop. This was the groups only output and MCA in typical fashion put hardly any effort into promoting the album which was nothing short of criminal since 'It's What's Inside That Counts' is a kick ass rock album and in my opinion one of that year's best.

The Songs
For those of you who balk at nary a mention of 'Punk' need to give this album a listen, put on your seat belts and hang on for the ride 'cause this baby never stops. Again, heavily influenced by all things British as if Lynyrd Skynyrd never existed, Critical Mass knew their Clash and The Jam but cooked 'em up like an English fry-up with The Ramones and Cheap Trick American power pop influences adding a little spice. With just one blistering cut after another, it's not easy to pick a favourite but 'Kerosene On Candlelight' ranks at the top with Mick Fazz's faux cockney vocals an absolute must hear. '1964' plays as a homage to the influential Beatles appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and in turn sounds more like Cheap Trick who also sound like The Beatles and well.. you get the picture. Awesome stuff while 'London' turns back the clock once more to the original punk explosion of 1976 and stands shoulder to shoulder with The Buzzcocks with a three minute masterpiece of switchblade and safety pinned aggression. How an album this good flew over everyone's head back in the day will forever be a mystery and again, a wagging finger of shame at the suits of MCA for dropping the ball.

In Summary
You can't keep a good man down and apparently Mick Fazz is gigging again as Critical Mass and has released a CD 'It's What Counts That's Inside' (a reverse play on words Mick!.. Ed) as yet unheard by yours truly. Nice to know but to be honest, I'd much rather have a CD reissue of 'It's What's Inside That Counts' although I'm not holding my breath.

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