Holy Gang

[Free Tyson Free! sleeve]"Free Tyson Free!"  (Mini Album, 1994)

Play It Again Sam Records

They don't come much more odd than this. Richard 23 of Front 242 fame released this bizarre 'benefit' style CD in 1994 - dedicated to the (then) imprisoned ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Promotional stickers labeled this a mini-album, with each track coming in around the three-minute mark the total running time just tips the thirty minutes point. Although it has nine tracks they are all pretty much variations on a simple theme. The theme being based around crossover guitar-driving industrial rock.

The mostly unimaginative song writing makes for pretty dull listening in one sitting despite the relative short length. The album as a whole has a tendency to sound like the same track interrupted every three minutes by a pause for a few seconds. It is novel however to hear samples of boxing commentary included in some tracks - that at least, in my experience, is original - something which cannot be said of most of this. Richard 23 shares the vocal duties with someone named Mark "Bonecrusher" D. and those applied on Power Is My Life share a passing resemblance to Laibach even if the music doesn't. It is only when the synth-driven Sanity B. comes in that your attention is grabbed. But when that track gives way to the same old derivative guitars for the final cut you realise that it's the only really interesting thing on the entire album. I didn't feel short-changed however. Like me, you'll be able to pick this up for a couple of quid in cheap CD shops across the UK. I've seen it everywhere from charity shops to Cash Converters. It might be worth two pounds but I would advise against spending any more. 4/10

Rob Dyer