For my money, the Plimsouls were, pound for pound, the best all-around band to come out of the Los Angeles punk-new wave scene of the late-'70s and early '80s. X may have captured L.A. urban Angst more poetically, Fear the all-out aggression of punk more powerfully and the Go-Go's the giddy pop fun of it all, but the Plimsouls fused all of those elements into a consistently infectious whole. With lead singer-songwriter Peter Case at the helm, the quartet gave you an idea of what kind of music John Lennon might have made if he'd been born 20 years later and 8,000 miles from Liverpool.
"A Million Miles Away" was the local radio hit, with its stinging electric guitar lead and careening-out-of-control verses, but nearly every song here was equally thought-provoking and danceable.
Years after the Plimsouls called it quits, Case said he was so dizzied by the star-making machinery surrounding the group that the whole period was something of a blur--that's why he exchanged the rock quartet for an acoustic guitar he spent the next five years strumming. Now that he's back to playing rock 'n' roll with the Peter Case Band, in a lineup that includes some of his former Plimsouls cohorts, it's an excellent time to remember what a delightful blur their music was a decade ago.