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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wild Gift

X

1981

Wild Gift
Album Summary

Wild Gift is the second studio album by American rock band X, released on May 4, 1981 by Slash Records. It was very well received critically, and was voted the year's second best album in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll. Wild Gift was later ranked at number 334 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Wild Gift showcases the band's unique punk rock style, which infuses roots rock, country, blues, R&B, and rockabilly. In 1988, Slash issued Los Angeles and Wild Gift jointly on a single compact disc. Wild Gift was remastered and reissued in 2001 by Rhino Records, with seven bonus tracks. The track "White Girl" was sampled by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their 1989 album Mother's Milk, in the song "Good Time Boys". The Chili Peppers song's lyrics mentioned X's John Doe specifically, "whose voice is made of gold".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.99

Votes

9518
Genres
Rock
Punk
New Wave

Reviews

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Mon May 31 2021
4

Wow. Impressed. Heard of X, I think, but never listened before. It’s catchy, pared down, good variety, not too one note. I hear ramones, pixies, misfits, Jefferson airplane, sonic youth, iggy and the stooges, that says it all. Saved the album to my library.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Had never heard this before - awesome - right up there on the list with the Clash, the Femmes, and other angry punk/post-punk bands of the era.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Maybe it’s the pop-punk loving side of me, but I really enjoyed this album, especially the first and last tracks sung by the female vocalist. I liked the blend of 50s rock with the driving pace of punk. This is the more palatable version of what The Cramps were trying to achieve. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars and ended at 4 because I want to look up more music by X.

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Mon May 31 2021
5

I loved this. It was my first time hearing of this band. What a find!

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

1981! Really? Wow. Straight into the favourite albums list.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

Pleasantly surprised to see this here. Very underrated.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
5

I prefer Los Angeles, but this a great album too.

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Sat Sep 04 2021
4

well, this is another one that was over too soon. i knew about X, of course, being a punkity-rock kid back in the day - but they were a little before my time, and i didn't really come to them until later. i love the aggressive attack on the guitar, the almost brutal uncaring in exene's voice...just great punk rock.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

I really enjoyed this album - it feels like a perfect segue between rock from the previous two decades and the two to come. You can hear rockabilly sounds like Elvis (who they likely were inspired by) and post-punk / alternative sounds like Sonic Youth too (who they likely inspired) plus some of their contemporaries like the Sex Pistols. Lots of different sounds really; this is not one-dimensional punk. Highlights were the Once over Twice (more brooding Ramones), We're Desperate (like frenetic Talking Heads), Adult Books (my favorite - Elvis meets the Velvet Underground meets Marty Robbins), Universal Corner (can't put my finger on it, but feels ahead of it's time), It's Who You Know (Motorhead with more depth), White Girl (Sonic Youth meets the Velvet Underground), and Beyond and Back (Dead Kennedys meet Elvis Costello).

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Mon May 31 2021
3

If the Ramones hopped into a Cadillac, put Johnny B Goode on the 8 track, and drove straight into the B-52's love shack, it might sound like this. Thanks, X, for pushing punk in new directions. The rockabilly stuff is not my cuppa tea, but the rest was solid. I have a feeling their lyrics deserve more attention. Perfect soundtrack to Tony Hawk Pro Skater II. B+

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Mon Jun 07 2021
2

alright but a bit boring. Superb bass playing though, and bonus points for being short and sharp

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Fri Dec 09 2022
1

It's not even Punk as it's far too clean around the edges and perhaps 5-6 years too late. There are bands that did this far better in New York, London and Manchester so I fail to see what makes this so special. It's not horrible to listen to, just bland and uninspiring.

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Mon May 10 2021
5

favorite songs: The Once Over Twice, Universal Corner, In This House That I Call Home, When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch. a really good album, only a couple songs that I thought were meh

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Mon May 31 2021
5

Solid punk album. Good sound, songs are happily 3 minutes. Songs are happily 75 seconds. Good melodies, fun listen.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

Great band. Great album. Fringe, outspoken leadership may soon change band name to Twitter.

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

This album is tight. It's full of ramshackle, energetic rockers from one of the most unique bands in music. X's punk bona fides are on full display, sweetened with a rockabilly undertone and a hint of a twang, which would become more pronounced on future albums. Billy Zoom's guitars burn brilliantly. D.J. Bonebrake's drums set an urgent pace that propels everything forward without distracting from the true stars of this show, John and Exene. The chaotic harmonies of John Doe and Exene Cervenka are imperfectly perfect. They're languid and messy and totally endearing. Their lyrics are incredibly poetic, blurring the gritty with the romantic. They sing about the dysfunctional side of life and of love, and you can feel it. Fave Songs: The Once Over Twice, Adult Books, In This House That I Call Home, I'm Coming Over

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Wed Aug 10 2022
5

I'd never heard of this band before... I wish I had! I loved this. Short and catchy which satisfies that craving I have. Will be exploring the rest of their discography based on this.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

Best American rock band from the first half of the 80s when they made five 5* albums. Probably their LA album is even a bit better but it is always a hard choice. Wild Gift contains songs like Adult Books and Universal Corner etc.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

Punk, but the band has skill.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

This is amazing! Had never heard it before, but instant fan. It's so believable, it's so straight ahead in some ways but with a punk soul and elements of many other genres. Sounds so fresh and original.

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

This is one of the greatest punk albums of all time. X takes the raw edge of punk and much like the Clash, brings in more thoughtful arrangements to create a form of punk that is more musically literate despite its destructive and deconstructive elements. This album is clearly influenced by hard rock, 50s rock, and emergent post-punk. The hallmarks of where punk inspired music was headed are all still here, increased musicality, acrobatic bass, incorporation of different genres etc.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
5

Growing up in LA & its 80-90s punk/alternative scene, this is a foundational band for me… they have an edge, an urgency, (“We’re Desperate, get used to it!” Amirite?!) to them, unlike some of the middling bands on the list that sold way more records (Steely Dan, Coldplay, Boston), the sort of edge Rock ‘n’ roll always was supposed to have going back to Chuck Berry (who’s obviously an influence on Billy Zoom) & Little Richard (influenced Exene & to a lesser degree John Doe)… plus as Anthony Kiedis once said John Doe’s “voice is made of gold…” Whenever I listen to X I think about “Decline of Western Civilization”’s performances by the band, or where they’re drunk & Exene gives herself a homemade tattoo… those other bands above would never do those things… nor would they make music like this.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
5

Fuck if I don't love music like this. Never knew about X before but now I need more!

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Mon May 22 2023
5

Between 1981 and 1984, X released 4 albums - an album a year. My favorite is their 4th one, "More Fun In The New World." (This is probably due to me seeing them for the first time...and three times on that album). In total, I've probably seen them about 10 time and they are still pretty great live...albeit older. It was great to listen to this one again and remind myself why I fell in love with the band. When we had a wild night, a friend used to say, "Last night everything broke." - A line from "We're Desperate" the best song here. (Not to be confused with the Australian bad of the same name, who formed about the same time or the Japanese band, who were force to change their name to X Japan).

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Sat Jun 03 2023
5

9/10 super wild, super fun really love this one

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Wed Jul 26 2023
5

The female vocalist (Exene) really makes this album for me. Her singing is terrible, but that’s exactly what this kind of music needs. John Doe can sing, and the combination of the two voices is just perfect. The lyrics are wonderfully clever/stupid. Great fun.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

I like the X - Lost Angeles album and have listened to it a lot over the years. This album I was less familiar with but still really enjoyed it.

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Thu Sep 28 2023
5

Sooo good. Straightforward and tight with great musicianship and melodies. Those baselines! And the rockabilly vibes! It’s also super accessible but so varied in styles, which I can’t imagine is an easy feat. Such an awesome discovery! Tucked away safely for future listens.

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Sun Nov 19 2023
5

Great punk with a bit of blues or country or folk to some of it. Not too heavy and not too repetitive.

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Wed Dec 27 2023
5

Such a fun album with a unique sound! Yes, it’s punk, but there’s actually some really interesting rockabilly in there too. The hooks are catchy, the lyrics are enigmatic, the guitar riffs are rocking. It’s a punk rock collection of love songs. But it’s the vague harmonizing and shout-sung vocals from Exene Cervenka and John Doe that really makes the album sparkle. I’ll definitely be coming back to this album—one of my favorite discoveries from this project!

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Tue Jan 23 2024
5

X had a great run of must-hear albums in the early-mid 80's with music that was smart, intelligent punk combining styles of rockabilly, country, blues, R & B and roots rock and put on energetic live shows. The first album, Los Angeles was groundbreaking and added California to the punk rock map. Their second album, Wild Gift was just as good, it was rawer and less over-produced than the first and the songs were a continuation in style and intensity of Los Angeles. In some ways, I prefer Wild Gift, it was maybe a bit overlooked and underrated in the overall X catalog, but it was an important record and lasting punk masterpiece, before the band signed to the Majors and smoothed out (and quieted) their sound. Solid and essential, if you can find it!

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Fri Feb 16 2024
5

How have I never heard these guys before?! This is very much my jam and exactly what I wanted from this silly project. Songs added to Spotify: 5

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

This was a fun rock album - really good punk rock that was a lot of fun to listen to. Catchy songs that kept me in it for the duration.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

I had a roommate in college who liked X and wanted us to go hear them when they played in the gym on campus. But none of the rest of us knew them and wouldn't buy tickets so we compromised and eavesdropped on the show from outside, on the grassy mound known as The Hump. That's not that interesting a story but it's a nice memory. Anyhow, I didn't take the opportunity to become an X fan --- they were a little too "alternative" for my tastes at the time. That's ok because they fit into my tastes just perfectly now. This album is great!

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

A band I've never heard of, a genre that I'd generally avoid, and I loved it. Just loved it! What a happy discovery!

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

Brilliant, and one I would probably never have heard otherwise! Sounds like an influence on loads of bands I love, especially suede and the Manics, but also on pretty much every punk band since. I didn't know "West Coast punk" was a thing, and it kind of wasn't really - except these guys - but I'm glad to know someone was trying to make it happen.

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Thu Dec 03 2020
4

Bounces between Ramones style bouncy punk to leaning slightly more hardcore. I'd say it's a proto-pop-punk record. Lot of fun, and the dual vocalists definitely help break it up here and there. Favorite tracks: "Universal Corner", "Back 2 the Base"

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Fri Feb 19 2021
4

I'm digging this record. Good punk, lots of fun to listen to

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Sun Feb 21 2021
4

rock out brooklyn basement style!

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

What a great album. One of my favorites so far. Brings back great memories

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Mon Feb 22 2021
4

Certainly not everyone's cup of tea but fantastic classic punk in my opinion.

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Sat May 08 2021
4

Opgewekte muziek. Misschien wat eentonig, maar omdat het zo tof is, kunnen we dat door de vingers zien.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
4

love this like probably not enough to listen to it again but maybe who knows when i'm feeling Punky

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Exhibit A on why not to look at the Wikipedia page before listening to the album. Apparently the female lead, Exene Cervenka, has gotten into conspiracy theories in recent years, including mass shooting hoaxes. But once I listened, I was pleasantly surprised and mostly didn't think about what I had learned about them. I had also read that their brand of early-80s punk was tinged with rockabilly, and I could definitely hear that in the songs. Sonically I thought they were pretty great - I liked the sped-up rockabilly/surf rock style, and usually enjoyed the paired lead vocals. I wasn't as big a fan of the lyrics, though.

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Classic punk. I loved the way there were male and female vocals on most tracks. Really well done and catchy.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Tan punk californiano. Amo. Flema tiene un tema que se llama 'Surfeando En El Riachuelo' que es todo lo que está bien y me hizo acordar, musicalmente, al primer tema del disco. Me remontó a eso automáticamente cosa que amo profundamente. 13 temones muy fáciles de escuchar y, por sobre todo, muy geniales. The Once Over Twice y Year 1 son los temas que más me gustaron. Lo escucharía mil veces más. 9/10 ludomatics.

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Mon May 24 2021
4

hell yeah punk rock cool influences as well

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

Love it. Reminds me of Minutemen. Need to get it on vinyl.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
4

Promisingly rapid start! Punky with a 50's rock and roll feel, makes me think of the Rezillos a bit. Four tracks in, I really like this and feel I missed out not knowing this album before! In short, this is really bloody good. I still love The Rezillos more for this fun, 50s inflected punk (I'm naturally going to identify more with Scottish sci fi geeks than a cool LA band), but this is definitely going back on at some point.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

Very West Coast punk album, another new band from this list that I've never heard before so had no idea what to expect. I liked it, great energy, wailing guitars, has a rockabilly vibe. Would listen to this again. Short, punchy, and I like that the vocalists switch it up, each leading their own songs and some with both harmonizing. Fun album.

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Sun Nov 07 2021
4

Some heavy Pixies, Talking Heads and B-52's vibes from 1981. Post-punk new wave soundtrack to a student house party in a movie, any movie.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
4

Some real good older Riot Girl punk music. Reminds me of Blondie. Never heard of X before but I really like this.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

Was a bit slow to start but once it got going it was a really fun listen. Still sounds fresh. The cover of the album had me expecting something more contemporary so it was a real surprise.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

Now, I adore 70s punk and post-punk. I consider them together to be the greatest genre of music. However, I'd never sought to listen to X before, for no reason other than I've always been more compelled towards UK acts of the period. I decided to set the evening aside to listen to both this and their earlier Los Angeles, and I found a rather pleasant straddling of punk and new wave, with Wild Gift the more embraceable. I'd have to say it lacks the knockout blow of a 5-starrer, but it's plenty rocking and sardonic, and there are worse ways of spending an evening.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

The wildest gift I ever received was for my 13th birthday. My siblings had all clubbed together to get me the severed penis of our old scout master. I loved it. I would play with it all the time. Every night before bed I would kiss it goodnight and then fuck the shit out of myself until my anus resembled a bloody casserole.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

I just don't know if I knew far less about music than I thought, or this 'challenge' goes out of it's way to pick more obscure bands. But these guys shouldn't be - early 80's raw punk tinged rock - so why aren't 'X' as big as they should be?

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Thu Feb 17 2022
4

Thoroughly enjoyable. The female vocal is better than the male

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Sun Feb 20 2022
4

Punk rock. Energetic. Fast paced and fun. Would listen to again (and check out more by this band).

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

short, concise punk record. Not bad at all

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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

I knew nothing of X before this came up, and what a pleasant surprise. Lively, brash punk - will be returning for more listens

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Thu Mar 31 2022
4

It was way better than I expected it to be, by far. I actually liked a lot of it.

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Thu Mar 31 2022
4

Really cool pop-punk album. I’d heard Los Angeles before and though it was ok, but honestly I think this one’s better. Also still can’t believe they’re produced by Ray Manzarak

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Wed May 18 2022
4

I generally like X, haven’t gone back before More Fun in the New World in years. I enjoyed this. It makes me want to go back to listen to Los Angeles.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

Real good punk / new wave feel to it. The male vocalist has a bit of a David Byrne vibe in his voice (not a bad thing, mind you). Universal Corner feels a bit lke "Shape Of Things To Come." Its nice to finally hear the whole song RHCP sampled for their song "Good Tine Boys." Now there's one song off the samples I don't know as of yet. Anyway, back to X. Even with it being punk, there's still a bit of variation, which is good. Nice short punk album, I really dug it.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

Punk with roots rock undertones

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

Wow - this is great early punk. Tuneful, solid 2 attack vocals, decent melody, great instrumentation.

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Fri Jul 01 2022
4

This short and sweet little album with a really fun surf rock kinda punky sound is just what I wanted to hear on this summer morning. The male/female playful vocals remind me of the B52's in a lot of ways. I dig it!

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Fri Jul 01 2022
4

Fun, playful punk. I hear a lot of The Clash and some B-52’s in their sound. But there’s also some country rock in here too. The male singer adds an interesting tone to some of these songs. I got a kick out of the Roy Orbison affectation he puts on for “Adults Books.” And “In This House That I Call Home” has a little of that Orbison drama but mixed with punk riffs. The lyrics are sharp and funny too (“Back 2 the Base” is a wild one!) which makes the songs worth paying closer attention to. I’m definitely going to want to spin this one a few more times.

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

Need to give this a better listen, but liked what I heard.

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Fri Aug 12 2022
4

Oh this is so great what a fun vibe. The opening track is great and probably In This House That I Call Home are the highlights but the whole album has such great energy.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

I was aware of a small number of songs by X, so I definitely wasn't going in blind here. I knew what to expect, and loved what I got. I always meant to go back through some of their catalogue, as most of what I was familiar with was from the Los Angeles album. Very much enjoyed this one.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

My original notes got erased, but my synopsis is this band fkn rocks. I'll be listening to more of X.

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

I'm inclined to categorize this as Ramones-style punk. Less raw, more polished than, say, the Sex Pistols, and their has the late '50s-early '60s rock vibe that the Ramones' often has. Depending on the song, the lead vocals might be handled by Exene (whose banshee-like wailing is unmistakable) or John Doe (or even both), and they make for a good combo, giving their music more versatility than the average band. But the standout aspect of their music is Billy Zoom's quick, clean, and precise guitar playing. Personally, I'd have liked to hear him get a little more time in the spotlight, but the results are pure rock n roll whether he gets it or not. Standout tracks include "Universal Corner," "Some Other Time," and "Beyond and Back" (which has a pleasing rockabilly flavor to it), but the entire album's solid. I could happily listen to the entire album without skipping a track. I wouldn't go so far as to give it 5 stars, but 4.5 feels right.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
4

Well done punk from early Nee Wave era.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

This album sounds like it’s years ahead of its time

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

I **almost** didn’t listen to Wild Gift before voting and reviewing because I already know i love X and this album. BUT- i actually took the time to listen to it a couple of times through before writing this. This week is shite at work and today i came home, cranked this album and lay on the floor letting the unpolished guitars and raw vocals melt that crap away. Perfect 80’s American punk album- a touch of rockabilly, just enough scream and right amount of thrash, be still my beating heart. Not my fave X album- regardless stellar showing.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

I don't know much about punk, but I enjoyed this album

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Sun Sep 25 2022
4

This was easily the nicest surprise for me so far. Had no knowledge of this band and was blown away since the start. I have to say I very much preffer the lady vocals.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

A previously unheard and undiscovered punk rock delight! I can hear their influence on so many of my favourite acts. A gift indeed.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
4

Good riffs, good vocals, good punk: very interesting album.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
4

The name of the band it's interesting and this album is interesting too. The punk style in this album is great and even if the voices weren't that great, it's part of the punk, no need to beautify the music when you only need to express something. Even if the album is so good, it needs something to be perfect

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