Poly Styrene was a brace-faced kid in 1977 when she shrieked, "Oh, bondage: up yours!" on X-Ray Spex's debut single, but her crackling power made her a punk-rock legend. This April, Styrene died of cancer after an intermittent post-Spex career. She left behind this life-force of a new album (recorded before learning she had the disease), full of sharp, buoyant reggae and synth-rock that's true to her personal-is-political vision. She fights techno-alienation on the hilarious "Virtual Boyfriend," and "I Luv Ur Sneakers" big-ups fashion that doesn't harm animals. Her searing voice had mellowed but her passion burns bright: "I don't believe we are doomed," she sings on the green-energy plea "White Gold," a seize-the-day dare that's achingly poignant.
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