Saturday, December 13, 2008

Killed By Volume: Four

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 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 for the images


  1. I think they sound more like Nicky and the Dots, wich is a great band too.

  2. I LOVE Protex! Thank you so for featuring them! It's just a shame that there isn't more recorded stuff available. There are just two singles and a handful of songs. Seems such a shame.

  3. Sorry to hear that music ruined your life, but with this post you saved mine!
    Thanks ever,

  4. Nop notch stuff mate. Thanks alot for this great posting.

  5. Some great songs here. I discovered Protex on the Made in Britain compilation, and waited in vain to hear more from them.

    In a perfect world, A Place in Your Heart, I Can't Cope, and I Can Only Dream all would have been radio hits. I'd even like to hear a current band try some cover versions.

  6. And here's a video of A Place in Your Heart, apparently on the same 1980 New York tour.

  7. Hairy palm

    From what I've heard( "Never Been So Stuck 7") Nicky et al sound a bit more like XTC. Good band tho'

    Yeah you can cobble the four singles and comp track inotone brief album and that's they have to show for their greatness. How many albums did the Strokes get to make?


    My loss is your gain - and you're welcome damnit!


    Thanks for the encouragement - keep up the killer work over on Punk Friction.

    You know musical justice does sometimes occur - after all nowadays everyone thinks Blitzkrieg Bop" was a hit in its time.

    Thanks for the video link

  8. Hehehe, hopefully someone is going to save your life aswell.
    Best wishes,

  9. Music is a beautiful torment.

  10. How true!
    It's so much better to be ruined by music than by work or other useless trash, now I understand.
    Thanks for opening my eyes (and my ears).
    Best wishes,
    Ogro (ready to be ruined)

  11. Thanks for adding my blog! You have some excellent taste in music ie MC4, Protex, Moondogs.

    I have added you to my blog list too. Oh and how funny, I was looking for Joe Strummer's Gangsterville yesterday and lo and behold found it here!!!!!


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