Sounds - December 12, 1981  (UK)

Limp fisted

'I Didn't See It Coming'
(Virgin V2220)***

Steve Jones Steve Jones

I SAW it coming I just didn't expect it to be this tame. Ever since the abortive Sham-Pistols alliance two years ago the Cook n Jones story has been one long dossier of sparkling potential and abject failure to fulfil it.

Laziness coupled to all the nightclubbing and superstudding meant they never built on the magnificent singles they periodically released, and which in turn meant the singles never again achieved the dizzy chart success of ' Silly Thing'.

The one thing they had was the Steve Jones Wall-Of-Sound, that big thick juicy layer-upon-layer of behemoth guitar. But on this album they even put that in jeopardy. The main mistake is Nigel Grays production, which has watered down their sound in search of some mythical Radio One middle ground. This effectively castrates the band leaving only the aptly named single 'The Magnificent' and the meaty 'Little Boys' to hit the old highs. At its worse this means 'Friday Night Square's a barely listenable dirge, 'Too Far To Fall' is unbearably bland, and even 'Crescendo' sounds sluggish instead of epical. The rest of the album's left in limbo, the limp-wristed production rendering the good songs average (compare 'Kick Down The Doors' here to the original version) and the average strictly iffy. The rare moments of recaptured greatness can't compensate for this criminal waste.

It's hard to believe they're throwing it all away like this. A Profs albums should be big and gross, it should come pummelling out of the stereo like a stampede of raging rhino, not stick its head out, sniff apologetically and fall flat on its face!

Despite this monumental cock-up the Professionals still have the potential to become a major force again. But it'll probably take all the push Curdy's got to make them achieve it.


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