There are few artists whose oeuvre is quite so hit-and-miss as Iggy Pop. Pick a card, any card – which Iggy will you get?

Iggy Pop

His strongest moments came when he was either the wild-eyed, feral performance artist of The Stooges, or when David Bowie channelled his insatiable energy into canny song structures. Zombie Birdhouse fell into neither camp.

Released in 1982 and reissued now on CD and either black or orange vinyl, it was a curious and rambling affair, an undisciplined exercise in jagged art-rock which Iggy seemed to be making up as he went along. Often, he was: on Watching The News, he apparently watched TV and ad-libbed over a backing cacophony.

Iggy’s curious ramblings are more compelling than most, which led an overawed producer, Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, to let him get away with murder. On Ordinary Bummer, he crooned and howled like a closing-time drunk; Eat Or Be Eaten sounded like a punk piss-take, and most probably was.

It screeched to a close with the raw, gibbering Street Crazies, Iggy sounding firmly among their number. Zombie Birdhouse was patently a lot of fun to make. Listening to it more than once? A different matter entirely.

5/10

Ian Gittins

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