THE JAM – “The Eton Rifles” / “See-Saw” (Polydor POSP 83) October 1979

For their naivety, their occasional errors of judgement and the periods of confusion and self-doubt they seem to suffer, The Jam’s determination to push against the barriers of style and against the limited outlook of the cult they have more or less unwittingly spawned is a blessed relief. If any British group is likely to forge a body of work with sufficient self-contained strength to survive the era then they are most probably that group.

“Eton Rifles” takes a cold look at some especially insidious British institutions, like letting little boys play with guns in Combined Cadet Corps, nationalism and class and other things that haven’t figured strongly in the charts since Elvis Costello’s “Oliver’s Army”. Except unlike “Oliver’s Army” it doesn’t soft-pedal the point. Its tone matches its ire.

The Jam made the first nouveau mod single last year when they cut “David Watts”. They’re not exactly hanging around waiting for the chance to make the last. And that’s what it’s all about. (NME)

Strong, an obvious hit and more adventurous than “When You’re Young” (if only in subject matter), but I’m sure all Jam fans are still waiting for another gem like “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight”. (Smash Hits)

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