Back when we lived in an internet-free world, another epoch when the very notion of taking pictures of your lunch would have seemed utterly preposterous, I used to muse upon those bands I only knew the name of. I would make romantic assumptions about what they sounded like and, more often than not, I would imagine terrific songs that were sadly out of grasp (now that I can listen to anything I want, I have prematurely become a sad bastard, so there you go technology). For some reason, Rabid was one of those bands. In fact, in the record store I used to hang out at in my teenage years, there was an original copy of that Rabid Ep, along with Mayhem's "Gentle murder". I would touch the cover, sighing, my hands shaking with frustrated excitement because I couldn't afford it. Buying recent, decently priced records was still quite an adventure then and I would spend whole afternoons at the store listening to dozens of records before I could decide which one (since more than one of them was unreasonable) I would pick. Buying an album was a long and painful process as I could just buy the one and I didn't want to mess up. But there were these two vintage Ep's that I would always return to, thinking that one day, although immensely expensive (it was like 8 euros each or something, almost the price of new Ep's on some distros nowadays...) I would get the fuckers. And when I got my first paycheck, I bloody did. Call me a sentimental fool, but this record, as average as it might sound to many, is something of an amulet to me, protecting me - and there fore you as well - against shit music.
If I wanted to write a short review, I would say "this is your average UK82 band: they were British, it was recorded in 1982, they had charged hair, they sang about war and the police. Ain't life great?". But then, you know I won't.
This Rabid Ep is perfect in the sense that it is everything you are entitled to expect from a Leicester punk band from the early 80's. It won't surprise you, it won't change your world but that's not the point. Matters of originality and uniqueness are out of the picture here. If anything, Rabid is comforting, heart-warming because their record is predictable and does the job well. If you are looking for some lesser-known but still decent, snot-fueled, angry second-wave British punk-rock on a bleak tuesday night, then look no further. They were not the most talented nor the fastest, the noisiest band and the boys' musicianship is not of a flamboyant nature either, but they did pen some solid tunes as this first Ep attests. Basically they did their bit and I challenge you not to sing along to the chorus of "Police victim" (it is a brilliantly easy one that goes "You're... only a police... victim" and the punk magic makes it so bloody catchy).
Rabid was definitely a band of its time. "Police victim" is a catchy mid-tempo number reminiscent of early Chaos UK; "Jubilee" (a song about the chief parasite of the British realms) could have been lifted from a Destructors' Lp; while "Glory of war" and "Crisis 82" were sloppy and highly lovable attempt at doing the dischargy thing while still trying to keep some tunes (I'll leave it to your judgement if you think they succeeded). The lyrics are not included but song titles will give you a rather accurate idea of the topics and "Crisis 82" would make a great name for a band doing UK82 covers (who's into it? I can vaguely play the bass guitar and I know some Abrasive Wheels and Instant Agony). I like the fact that you can pretty much understand what they are on about as the vocals are quite clear, half-way between The Enemy and Patrol or something. The production is genuinely raw and utterly appropriate for the genre: yes, there is some distortion but the songs remain rather tuneful. I understand the songs were originally part of a demo from which the band selected the four best ones in order to release the Ep themselves, which they actually did in true DIY fashion. This version however is the Fallout Records reissue from the same year. Apparently, the band was not too happy with the label (some money issues probably) but I am sure that looking back they must be pretty proud to have a release on a label that also did Broken Bones, Action Pact and The Enemy. Besides, Fallout Records is a brilliant name for a punk label and I'd seriously consider it for a dog's name as well.
After that Ep and also in 1982 (an inspiring year if there ever were any), Rabid recorded a 12" for Fallout Records, again. Although it is a bit tighter with proper feedback on the vocals and a crunchy guitar sound, it sort of lacks the energy of this Ep. Apparently, Rabid reformed last year and have released a new album that I have not dared listen to yet. I am not the bravest of men when it comes to such matters.