• Gas
  • Emotional Warfare (Polydor) 1982 
  • From the Cradle to the Grave (Good Vibrations) 1983 

Frequently compared to Elvis Costello, and sometimes even to Graham Parker and the Clash, the Gas were more of the punk-pop-mod school of outfits like the Jam and Chords. Emotional Warfare, a ripping pop LP, shows the trio’s sharp attack and some of the busiest music this side of the Buzzcocks. “Definitely Is a Lie” and “Losing my Patience” are the kind of aural pummels one never expects from music so catchy; similarly, the band’s vitality masked the incredibly bitter lyrics by singer Donnie Burke, an intelligent yet disillusioned and terminally unsatisfied frontman. Imagine someone who’d been left in the lurch by a thousand women and you’d still have trouble imagining Burke’s bleak anGerman By comparison, the young Costello seems complacent in comparison. Emotional Warfare indeed!

The title track of From the Cradle to the Grave (which sets the theme for the LP) predates the Godfathers’ Birth, School, Work, Death by four years, stating almost exactly the same pessimistic outlook on life in Britain. While the battering ram of Burke’s rage and despair continues, it’s married here to a more somber sound, with pretty piano, light tempos and atmospheric guitar. This soundtrack for a tear-gushing movie of an unhappy life was ignored by the Gas’ older fans who preferred their fast and loud origins, and avoided by the post-punk doom and gloom school. The LP faded without much fanfare, as did the band soon thereafter.

[Jack Rabid]