Listen: When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again / Automatics Automatics.mp3
Who is the best living rock producer? Steve Lillywhite.
There are many, and I’m probably writing this without really thinking it through. Whatever. Steve has made so many great records for decades. The list is staggering: XTC, The Psychedelic Furs, Joan Armatrading, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Ultravox, fuck it – loads.
U2 – even if the band isn’t, to my tastes, great – the recordings are wonderful. For all the sonic wonder he has added to U2 alone, he still had to start somewhere.
Enter The Automatics. Certainly not his first, but definitely an early production. He’s come a long way. Or did he arrive fully formed?
This certainly captured the sound of London ’78. Those shouty vocals, bratty guitar grinds and the beautiful clunk of a noisy rhythm section all rolled up into a loveable mess. Either its great or it isn’t, and this is. If you add to that recipe an anthemic song, well, you end up with ‘When The Tanks Roll Over Poland’ by The Automatics, for one.