I've raved before about Protex's bubblepunk, with it's delicious echoes of fellow countrymen the Undertones and their battles in the perfect-power-pop-punk single war with the Buzzcocks. (The Buzzcocks won of course but Protex's valour has been ignored - they don't even have a legitimate re-issue to their name.)
Protex's who were comprised of Aidan Murtagh(guitar & vocals) David McMaster (guitar & vocals), Paul Maxwell (bass & vocals) and Owen McFadden (drums) put out their first e.p., Don't Ring Me Up on Good Vibrations Records in1978. The e.p. is a touch rougher in production and playing then what was to come but these three pop songs are only slightly less glorious for the unprocessed sound.
Download Don't Ring Me Up
On their second single, back in '79, Protex piled on more three-part vocal arrangements and more choppy riffs and, for the A-side, added a taut staccato chorus. They even one-upped The Who's blithe rebellion by claiming, " I don't want to be alive/When I'm twenty-five". "Popularity" is another pop-punk behemoth, which would be a very good band's A-side but Protex aimed only for greatness.
Download I Can't Cope
(Protex - I Can't Cope)
Protex's third single (4:22 in total!) from 1979 is yet another pop blitzkrieg. The A-side, "I Can Only Dream" is very Buzzcocks-esque but is still a rush of great joy. The remnants of the glam-rock era show up the B-side, "Heartache", which is Protex's mid-tempo love song sorta like the Clash's "Train in Vain."
Download I Can Only Dream
On Protex's fourth single (1980) they packed every pop trick in their repertoire - layered vocals, quick tempos, melodic riffs plus an attitude that is at once yearning and angry - onto the A-Side (see here) leaving them utterly spent. They had so little left in them that for the B-side, usually reserved for yet another aspiring classic, all they had to offer was a passable cover of T Rex's "Jeepster", which serves to remind the listener that Mark Bolan's original really was just that.
Download A Place in Your Heart
Protex's discography has been bootlegged twice. The first boot is Listening In, which contains, "all 9 tracks released on singles, plus the exclusive track from the Made In Britain sampler, plus four John Peel BBC Radio session tracks from January 1979". The next boot, All We Wanna Do is Rock n' Roll "collects all 9 tracks released on singles, plus the exclusive tracks from the Made In Britain and In Session compilation albums, plus a Kid Jensen BBC Radio session from 1979, plus 2 live tracks from the Protex Hurrah film". While the above quotes from Irishrock.org imply there are two different BBC sessions (Kid Jensen and John Peel) a close listen suggest the tracks are identical. Either way, you'll need both albums to have the complete discography.
Download Listening In
Download All We Wanna Do is Rock n' Roll
(Here's Protex performing "Don't Ring Me Up" live in NYC on St. Patrick's Day, 1980.)
Thanks to irishrock.org for the images