NEON – Sign Of The Time (Stone Premonitions)

Before Tim Jones started up the Stone Premonitions label he was in a band, with fellow SP stalwarts Mark Dunn and Paddi, called Neon. In 1977 they were one of many, many bands formed during the heyday of punk and new wave, but instead of the thrash of the Pistols or Damned they were trying to do something a bit different, resulting in music that combined the energy of punk with a wide variety of musical influences. At times you can hear pointers towards Jones’ next band Punishment Of Luxury, where he took the new wave influences even further, resulting in some great singles on Small Wonder. On this CD we have Neon recorded live in various locations during 1977 and 1978, and considering that most of the tracks were recorded on fairly primitive equipment the sound quality is surprisingly good, with the band coming across as a very good live act. Jones sings most of the songs, which he also wrote, with Paddi singing his own ‘Advertising’. All of the songs on this album have the raw energy which was fuelled by the punk movement, and Jones’ vocals can at times be a bit ragged, but it gives the songs a spontaneity which drives them along. Individual tracks are difficult to single out, as the band do seem to start off in high gear and then never really slow down, which means that a lot of the songs do sound somewhat the same, but when a guitar solo erupts out of ‘Batman’ it sends that to the top of the list. The tracks have all been segued together with audience applause edited out, and that does lose some of the atmosphere that was no doubt there at the time, but it is still an excellent time capsule of the band as they were.