Case ‘Ain’t Gonna Dance’ – album review

Case ”ËœAin’t Gonna Dance ”“ Recordings 1980-1985′ (Damaged Goods DAMGOOD385)
Released 14th November 2011

Record companies have a habit of announcing that their latest release is culturally significant, the artist concerned is the future of music etc ”“ We know to our cost that this is often hyperbole in an effort to shift units. Damaged Goods describe Case as ”Ëœlegendary’ – and for once I think the term is justified”¦

Case were formed in the rock ”Ëœn’ roll wasteland that is Croydon during the summer of 1979 its members having been introduced to each other by Slimey Toad from pub rockers Johnny Moped. The date is significant; at that time the initial wave of punk and the impact it created had subsided, those able to play were experimenting with their sound, the first stirrings of ”Ëœpost punk’ were emerging, others rode out the mod revival linked to the release of ”ËœQuadrophenia’ and took to the developing Two Tone/Ska movement, others pursued a more new wave path. Case absorbed all these influences and created their own unique high octane frenetic sound.

Case played extensively in the pubs of South London and garnered a small but fanatical following; who displayed their devotion by mounting a vociferous graffiti campaign, one fan is alleged to have spent his lunchtimes visiting public toilets across London, he unrolled rolls of toilet paper and wrote CASE on each sheet before rolling them up again!! A glimpse into the future perhaps, was this the first viral marketing push?

Case released just one single; the 7” ”ËœWheat From The Chaff’ EP in 1983 which topped the UK indie chart and resulted in radio play via John Peel, Janice Long and Kid Jensen ”“ this resulted in more prestigious gigs with the band appearing at The Rainbow, The Hammersmith Palais, and The Marque; despite this Case never quite broke through, and failed to release another single. They didn’t split, they just stopped playing together”¦ however that to is about to change.

”ËœAin’t Gonna Dance’ is the first collection of all the bands recorded work, being compiled from the best available source tapes which have then been faithfully cleaned and re-mastered for this long overdue release.

”ËœAin’t Gonna Dance’ ably demonstrates quite why Case generated such devotion and also reminds just what an inventive and potent force they really were.

Album opener ”ËœOh’ is a ballsy brass filled ska punk number that initially appeared on the “Wheat From The Chaff’ EP, title track ”ËœAin’t Gonna Dance’ is in the same vein with an expressive vocal delivery from front man Matt Newman strongly reminiscent of Kevin Rowland, whilst ”ËœOnly You, Only Me’ fair bristles with spiky punk based attitude with proto oi! tinged backing vocals.
Case clearly had their musical fingers on the pulse of emerging styles for on ”ËœCriminal Ways’ included here in demo form they employ both the drum patterns and vocal delivery soon to be easily recognised in the pre-goth positive punk of pre fame Adam & The Ants.

Case display their punk roots during ”ËœLeft Here By Myself’ but even here the track benefits from some subtle bass sax, not dissimilar to that employed by X-Ray Spex, ”ËœLet That One Go’ features the same sax that is interwoven with staccato guitar before leading you into a powerful chorus.

What’s evident from listening to this album, particularly some 25years after the material was recorded was just on the button Case were; as the album progresses you find yourself name checking numerous now well known bands that Case sound similar to ”“ arguably Case could be considered the ”Ëœmissing link’ in the development of post punk/alternative music

”ËœLondon Town’ spills out of the speakers with an urgent driving riff Stuart Adamson would have been proud of, coupled with terrace style chorus the average oi band would die for. Things go somewhat astray during ”ËœI Am The Only People’ when it seems Case delved into the emerging synth scene with less impressive results.

Overall an excellent release that more than justifies the belief that Case truly were a band full of creative vision who should have achieved so much more ”“ they were renowned for their uproarious live performances and these predominately studio recordings really do faithfully capture the energy and vitality that Case displayed.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Nice review – and I happy to report having caught them at the 100 Club the weekend before last they are still an absolutely cracking band and unbeatable live

  2. I used to see Case in The Star, at Broad Green, Croydon.
    Bloody good value, and an excuse to dance like a maniac, it was always amusing to the young lady who became my Lady.
    They played at The Clarendon, Hammersmith,(I helped move their kit, as well as showing the locals how to ‘dance’), and also did two gigs on the day of the wedding of Charles and Diana, one in Bromley in that park behind the High St, and one in the evening in village hall in Warlingham. There was a dead stylish band on that night calling themselves The Septik Klitz!
    Somewhere I might even still have a couple of letters from Matthew, in one of which he mentioned being about to go into the studio.
    Disappeared after that, great pity, they were on course to be as good as Madness
    When I have the funds this latest artefact I’ll seek it out, and I don’t often do that

    • Ben: dig those letters out and stick ’em on the band’s facebook page. I’m sure they’d like to see ’em. If you can’t be arsed, I understand. It was a long time ago.


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