On The Air Ready For Action Again

Think the Mod movement was all about the Jam, 2Tone and the Who? While it seemed at the time that Paul Weller was stepping into Pete Townshend’s hand-me-downs, the Modfather actually did have a little brother. On The Air consisted of Simon Townshend, Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki, the latter two soon to be drafted as Big Country’s rhythm section. This album collects their prime work, mostly from around 1980, showing that on a good night they could have given the Jam or the Clash a run for their money. Perhaps burdened by his brother’s fame, Simon nonetheless comes off as a confident, passionate singer and guitarist, at times indicating what Pete could have been doing had he himself not been burdened by the Who’s ever-growing mythology. "Comeback” is the best example of this, as Simon reaches for Pete’s trademark falsetto, but more often he’s got a heavily accented growl, à la Joe Strummer, as on "Typically English” and "Going For Your Guns.” Ready For Action Again is a must for Mods everywhere, and an interesting Brit-pop footnote that’s worth a listen. (Track)