One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a record collector is finding those albums that you had not previously been exposed to. 999 (Nine Nine Nine) certainly presented one of those albums with the The Biggest Tour In Sport / The Biggest Prize In Sport.
I first came across the album when one of my favourite record stores, Goldmine Records, had a sale and this release was at the top of the list. I looked at the album cover and I was captivated. Thanks to Tidal, I was able to listen to the album and within a matter of minutes I knew that I had to own this album. Unfortunately, TIDAL does not have access to the Hi-Fi 16bit / 44.1 KHz, 1411Kbps FLAC file for this album, but the sonic quality of TIDAL's 320Kbps AAC source was acceptable for sampling the album. Regardless, the vinyl release trumps the available streaming options.
For those unaware, 999 (Nine Nine Nine) is a punk rock band, but I feel they are a little less punk than you may expect. The mixture of classic rock and pop beats, along with the punk influence makes for a winning combination in my opinion. You can dance, you can sing along, and you will be captivated by a sound that is as unique as the band's name, album title, and artwork.
Perhaps the best songs to show off the band's talent are Inside Out, Boys In The Gang, Trouble, and Made A Fool Of You. Throughout the entire album there is a focus on the bass elements and this aspect alone helps cement a groove, thereby encouraging you to move unintentionally to the beat. While neither of these artists can be classified as punk, 999 (Nine Nine Nine) makes me think of a mashup between The Beach Boys and Rob Zombie, in terms of groove when listening to the record. Basically, this is a fun album and I've no doubt you will enjoy yourself should you take the time to listen to it. The song, Trouble, even has a reggae influence that will please Bob Marley fans.
As I listen to this album, I can believe how modern the music sounds. It certainly hasn't dated itself to the early 1980s, when the recording was made. If the album had been released this year, punk fans around the world would have been captivated.
The vinyl itself is presented in a gatefold design with liner notes written by vocalist/guitarist Nick Cash. Both records are pressed on transparent green vinyl that adequately matches the cover art. I particularly like the vinyl labels as each record shows the album artwork on one side, while the other side gives you the track rundown. Perhaps the only disappointment with the packaging is the vinyl sleeves are full of advertisements, for other artists and albums, that are available from Let Them Eat Vinyl. Yes, this practice is common place, but fewer reissues are opting for this advertising model. It’s not that I dislike the practice, but I find myself wanting to purchase these advertised albums. Yes, it is an illness!
This double release consists of both the studio and live albums. Obviously there are differences between the two, but the live recording (The Biggest Tour In Sport) is well performed and recorded. In-fact, this is one of those rare cases where the energy of the band truly transfers to the recording. That is not to downplay the studio recording, but I can only imagine how good 999 (Nine Nine Nine) would be playing the pub/club scene in the UK. If you have seen them live, please let me know as I'd love to hear what you thought of the them and if this live album is indicative of their stage performances.
By now, you can probably tell that I love this album. It is exceptional and finds its way to the turntable on a regular basis. It is still available on Amazon and other options for listening to the album include iTunes, Apple Music, and TIDAL.
Let me know what you think of the album and band. As I only have this record, I would welcome suggestions on which of their albums to pick up next.