The Clash – in high res

Alan Taffel (TheAbsolute Sound magazine) writes: In their heyday—roughly the late-70s to early 80s—the Clash, with typical insouciant bravado, dubbed themselves “The Most Important Rock Band in the World.” They may well have been right. No doubt the band staked that proclamation on its fervid and acute political soundings. Sure, the Sex Pistols could express anger at the status quo, but that’s about as far as they went. The Clash, on the other hand, railed against the real-world, real-time imperialism it perceived in America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. Yet while the group dealt with modern-day crises, their subject matter ranged beyond the large scale of war to the personal anguish of alienation. In other words, unlike their contemporaries, the Clash actually had much more to say than “we’re angry.”

But the group’s “most important” moniker, intended to point up its political instincts, could apply equally well to its music. Here was a band that combined fearsome power, a surprisingly sweet sensitivity, melodic hooks aplenty, and— like every great rock band—a drumhead-tight rhythm section. Guttural vocalist Joe Strummer and inventive guitarist Mick Jones made a team with the synergy of a John and Paul or a Mick and Keith.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the Clash, and the element that most distinguished it from other bands of the era, was their .......