Don’t Ring Me Up, Protex’s 1978 debut single, is so good it was released twice by two great labels: first by Good Vibrations, then by Rough Trade. Even though their name was a tribute to The Clash, this band of Northern Irish schoolboys’ teen traumas soundtracked by reckless riffs and stupidly simple solos make them closer in spirit and execution to Buzzcocks.
A deal with Polydor produced three singles and one shelved album, Strange Obsessions, which has at last been issued. Bubblegum punk spars with powerpop glory (it’s a win-win) for an album that feels as fresh as it was meant to 30 years ago. Did someone say ‘teenage dreams so hard to beat’? If so, they were right.