X-RAY SPEX – “Germ Free Adolescence” / “Age” (EMI INT 573) October 1978 

X-Ray Spex ‘Germ Free Adolescence’ – There are not many songs about the joys of teenage cleanliness but here’s one from X-Ray Spex. To get the girl of your dreams boys must scrub their bits and bobs, brush their teeth and scrub away, scrub away, scrub away. Well. that’s according to Poly Styrene and it also applies to girls too.

“Germ Free Adolescence” is a slow number with heavy use of synth, the usual sax and kind of spoken vocals over a bright and open soundscape, every word can be heard and the result is a charming piece of pop music which was commercial and strong enough to creep into the top 20. (EXPO67)

Synthetic sister with the thought problem straightens out. She gets un-weirded, her product keeps in line; this is unheard of X-Ray Spex. For instance it does not perform at the speed of sound . . . . the angle is SLOW DOWN.

A modern ballad meets Baba O’Reilly. Synthesisers meet mekkanik Shirley Bassey. Poly cracks and swallows and wades through, sticky but obsessive. Perhaps not a hit. But an attempt at changes – at this career point it’s vital. (Record Mirror)

In every dream home Listermint. This is the title track of the forthcoming album, a beautiful antiseptic love song, all deodorised libido with a little ‘Baba O’Reilly’ motif running throughout, a soul version of ‘For Your Pleasure’, though Poly agonises in the face of her perceptions whereas Ferry tended to wallow in his.

Poly’s a soul singer now, Veda Brown incarnate, she’s that good, with all the taste of theatrical melodrama that implies.

“He’s a germ free adolescent, cleanliness is her obsession.

Cleans her teeth ten times a day,

Scrub away, scrub away, scrub away,

The S.R. way.”

An emotive indictment on personal hygiene. Not backed with a cover of “The Martian Hop”. (NME)

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