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''Play It Loud'' is the second album by the British rock group Slade (and their first under this name, having previously been known as The N'Betweens and Ambrose Slade). It was released on November 28, 1970, but did not enter the charts.
With very little promotion and advertising, the album failed to reach a wide audience. The absence of a 'hit' single was also a factor in this. It is regarded by some as an influential rock release, foreshadowing punk rock nearly seven years prior to its UK explosion.
Slade, in this incarnation, had adopted a "skinhead" image by suggestion of their manager Chas Chandler. While the marketing ploy did not take (this album did not originally chart), this period of the band's career did assist in successfully distancing itself from their later "glam peers". While Slade was certainly a part of the "glitter" movement of the 1970s, this more "rowdy" image of the band endured after many of their Glam Rock contemporaries were shoved aside by younger, more punk and New Wave listeners. Slade was allowed another stab at fame, in no small part, due to their "working class" roots which "Play It Loud" successfully captures.
''Play It Loud'' also documents the development of the band's songwriting style. For this release, many of the band's members were writing together and collectively. The eventual platinum-plus hit-making team of vocalist/guitarist Noddy Holder and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Lea had not yet become concrete. More so than any later release, ''Play It Loud'' may be the nearest example of the band Slade performing and writing totally as a Group; not dominated by any one member or "team".
Today, even with the trappings of its era in tow, ''Play It Loud'' is still a release that jumps from the speakers. When taken in context, it is obvious that, in 1970, the few listeners who initially purchased this album were truly hearing a band to be reckoned with.
Slade would enjoy much more success with later, more mature pop-rock releases. Nevertheless, ''Play It Loud'' stands as a powerful piece of early punk and solid hard rock. One can easily hear why Kurt Cobain and other "grunge rock" pioneers pointed to several tracks on this release (notably "See Us Here", "Raven", "I Remember" and the band's breathless version of "The Shape Of Things To Come") as a catalyst for their own work.
''Play It Loud'' remains a rarely heard gem that is certainly worth a listen (even if later Slade is not a preferred poison). Once rare in its availability, the CD is now readily accessible throughout Europe and the U.S. thanks to a re-release on CD in the 1990s.
''Play It Loud'' was remastered in 2006 and released with their first album ''Beginnings'' on a single CD. Bonus tracks are the singles "Wild Winds Are Blowing" and "Get Down And Get With It" - Wikipedia