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BINKY PHILIPS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Binky Philips EP (Caroline) 1987

Sixteen years after his band, the Planets, first opened for the New York Dolls, this Manhattan scene veteran finally made his first record. Whew! Amazingly, he seems none the worse for wear. The five songs cut live at CBGB sound pretty darned fresh: an infectiously rockin' plea for peace (between lovers? friends? countries?), a power pop love song (slight but durable), a nasty slice of early Elvis Costello-meets-Pete Townshend (or, how to say goodbye to an ex-lover with no physical violence but still be guilty of assault and battery), a regretful farewell that's sort of a wailin' hard-rock hoedown and a sardonic expression — in loud, modern guitar-funkatiousness — of the hoary dictum, "Nothing's Free." It all hangs together by virtue of Philips' strong guitar playing and savvy (if a bit hoarse) vocals, and the tight, punchy rhythms of his cohorts, ex-Gang of Four/League of Gentlemen bassist Sara Lee and drummer Mick Leyland.

[Terry Rompers]