‘Battle Hymns for Children Singing’ is one of the most willfully annoying records of all time. With Paul Caplin pulling the strings, singing characters Jeremiah Healy and Kate Garner spew out juvenile nonsense lyrics (as on their highest-charting UK hit, “John Wayne Is Big Leggy”) attached to bouncy dance rock, tricked out with gimmicky production to make it reach maximum quirky obnoxiousness. A few tracks (like the McLarenesque square- dance rocker “Shiny Shiny” and the Bow Wow Wow-like “More Money”) are fine for very occasional listening, but enduring this entire album in one sitting is like having painful dentistry performed by an overbearing three-year-old.
Garner made some solo records after the London group evaporated and then became a successful photographer; Healy became a DJ, did some remixes (including the Clash) and recorded for Boy George’s label as the Ezee Posse. The US CD adds two bonus songs, five remixes and notes by Bruce Harris.