Recording information: Trident Studios, London.
Photographer: Brian Griffin .
The Nik Turner faithful declare Maximum Effect to be Inner City Unit's finest hour -- and, from the moment the rabidly hypnotic "Bones of Elvis" kicks in, it's impossible to disagree. As frighteningly appropriate in the first half of the 21st century as it was a full 25 years before, this (presumably) tongue-in-cheek examination of hero-worshiping jingoism at its ugliest might well be the finest antiwar song of the post-Vietnam era, and the fact that scarcely anyone has ever heard of it only adds to its potency. At last, a revolution you can stage in the privacy of your own brain. The remainder of Maximum Effect, while not as strong as the opening track (what could be?), is nevertheless as promising, with only the group's growing penchant for "obvious" humor detracting from some excellent performances. Indeed, whereas Pass Out, the band's debut album, made a virtue of its raggedness, Maximum Effect sounds practically state of the art -- which may have come as a shock at the time, with the memory of the band's contemporary live show seared into the brain, but is almost reassuring today. It proves that Nik Turner and Inner City Unit really were as great as one remembers them to have been. ~ Dave Thompson