The Slits - Cut - Review
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critics' view

Staring back at you from the striking cover of their debut LP were (L to R): Ari Up (17, vocals); Viv Albertine (24, guitar) and Tessa Pollitt (20, bass guitar). Ace young drummer Budgie (22) was not included; presumably on account of the fact that his breasts were not of a suitable size and shape. Ari was a German-born wild-child who had famously declared “The establishment is the enemy” and was, presumably, proceeding with her latest tactic in the great mission to burn down Babylon.

Over the last couple of years, their brand of punk had become more and more entwined with the exciting rhythms of Jamaica, to the point they were now more of a dub rock outfit than a punk rock one. Said Ari:

We got into dub after Don Letts introduced us to it. We’d go to his house in Forest Hill and spend the weekend there. He would just play music non-stop. Back then you had reggae clubs and blues parties all over London.

One thing led to another and before you knew it, The Slits had found a key supporter in Chris Blackwell at Island Records where the girls met producer Dennis Bovell, who lent great support to them in realising the fantastic sound they achieved right here on their debut LP. Ari’s band had come a long way since she started it as a 14-year-old – she was now a central figure in multi-cultural London’s music scene, and The Slits shone like a beacon for would-be council-estate stars everywhere, never mind wannabe female rockers. The Slits were not your typical girls; what a welcome breath of fresh air they were.

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