The Cybermen

Reviews

The Cybermen Cybernetic Surgery EP reissue

I always thought the CYBERMEN’s “You’re To Blame” was a charming enough second-tier second-wave punker perfect for filling out an all mod cons mix (pro tip: slot it next to EXPLODING HEARTS), but what I did not know was that their four-song debut is an even more satisfying slab of earworm. Cheers to Breakout for rescuing this not-cheap circa ’78 record for the rest of us. “Cybernetic Surgery” is way up on that neuromancer tip and has a great balance between fast rocker and weird robot energy. “Where’s New Wave” also crests early but often, another tricky balance struck between wrong-sided garage and mean-muggin’ mod. “Hanging Around” manages to be sullen and threatening and even finds time to phase in and out of existence. Just when you thought these jerks were irredeemable, “I Can’t Help” proves that it was all just an act and these punks have sleeves made of bleeding hearts. A bounty of riches, this single. No band named after Dr. Who’s lamest adversaries has any right to be this killer.

The Cybermen You’re to Blame / It’s You I Want 7” reissue

Another necessary reissue from Italy’s excellent Breakout Records, “You’re To Blame / It’s You I Want” is an encore presentation of late ’70s pop punkers the CYBERMEN’s second record, originally released in 1979. A strong entry in the “UK pub-rock-turned-punk” category, the CYBERMEN were in a pub group called ESAX LUCIUS prior to catching the punk bug, and it shows. Sharp and clean with rockin’ grooves in the vein of the RADIATORS FROM SPACE or the CORTINAS, these boys played that catchy shit with a bit of commercial appeal. This single is presented as a double A-side (right on the sleeve!), but the actual A-side is the winner for me. “You’re To Blame” is a loose and spunky R&B number with a classic four-chord riff and ’50s rock character. “It’s You I Want” sounds a little more like an attempt at radio play and has more of a power pop feel to it (the handclaps are subtle), although there is some good ol’ twangy guitar jamming in there to help drive it along. Anyway, by the time I get to side two, I’m already sold on the record and ready to flip it back again. It’s great.