Basically, it’s better that being hit round the head with a mace…
The pride of Croydon’s one and only album has long been among the most defining artefacts of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it era that spawned the full-on punk explosion. Johnny Moped - both the band, and their chummily eponymous frontman – were and still are the epitome of what was at the vanguard of early punk. Along with two Berks and a Slimy Toad, JM purveyed a skewed stance on cranked-up R&B that made him and his colleagues heroes of the early punk elite and also of quite a few pub rock fans who didn’t much like the hardcore 1-2-3-4 stuff but would, depending on how many pints you got inside them, grudgingly admit to liking the Mopeds and others of their fairly unique ilk.
Not all of the best punk-era bands were recorded, but through the farsightedness of Ace’s precursor Chiswick Records, Johnny Moped happily were. Thirty years on, “Cycledelic” wears its dumb brilliance well, from the castrato attack on Mr Berry’s Little Queenie to the shoulda-beena-smash singalong stupefaction of Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby. Johnny Moped’s era ended all too abruptly when his missus wouldn’t let him go out and play with his mates anymore, but we’ll always have “Cycledelic” – handily preserved in its entirety in this new super duper Hip Pocket edition – to fight their corner in the battleground that was, is and forever will be punk rock.
By Tony Rounce