SNOTTYNESS... Punk Rock Classic - World Contender - Worth A Listen - Average - Plastic - No Future
Live Rehearsals Tape July 2003
This is a sneak preview supplied by Joe in Belfast (cheers mate), of this recently formed Belfast supergroup $hame Academy. They feature Brian Young ex-Rudi on guitar/vocals, Greg Cowan ex-Outcasts bass/vocals and Petesy Burns ex Stalag 17 on drums. With that kinda punk pedigree they gotta be worth checking out, and on this very good and remarkably clear ten track taster recorded on 2nd July 2003, it don't let you down. These are geezers who ain't lost that original sound and vibe that so many lose with the ravages of time. They're still fresh!!! $hame Academy are preparing for live soirees in the Belfast area in the not too distant future. They'll be playing live in conjunction with the official release of the book 'It Makes You Wanna Spit!' (Revisited) covering the early Belfast punk scene. So look out for em as I could see this being a great treat for the punk purists out there, and the younger kids alike. Besides throwing in a few well selected covers by bands like Menace, Rezillos, Iggy, Eddie Cochran and the Ramones, all with Brian and Greg sharing vocal duties. They done particularly justice to Iggy's 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. Ain't it good to hear bands doing covers the justice they really deserve and being very good musicians in their own right makes one helluva difference. The highlight for me was the 4 great versions of their own respective bands material, starting with the Outcasts 'Self Conscious Over You'. This song is particular favourite in the Wolf's Lair followed by a stomping 'Magnum Force'. This collaboration wouldn't have been complete without a couple of Rudi songs and they give us a nifty version of 'Pressures On' ending the set with a storming version of the classic 'Big Time'. Gotta say both vocalists ain't diminished one iota in delivery sounding as good as the day they penned these tracks over 20 years ago. If you live in Belfast look out for live sightings very soon!!!
WORTH A LISTEN!
THE INSTIGATORS 'Dine Upon The Dead' CD (orca19) 2003
Very well put together CD showcasing the Instigators best moments. This collection comes with a generous 24 tracks spanning their UK career. Gotta admit I wasn't too clued up on the Instigators at all? I remember reading about their demo in Punk Lives and seeing em in Sounds during the later part of their career, but never actually got into them. So it's good to finally hear em for myself all be it 20 odd years too late. This album comes in two halves with the two different lineups sharing the spoils. Only axe hero, the talented Simon Mooney remains throughout the bands decade spanning career. The Instigators were originally part of the UK Anarcho set, naming the Subhumans and The Mob as big influences. However they soon discovered their own rockin hardcore sound, which had more to do with Power chord attack than the trashy transistors of the trad. protest scene. Their songs are more personnel than political in my opinion. They don't preach, but let you decide what's in the message, so they hit people differently which is always a good move. They are more than capable of backing the lyric up with neat arrangements that are showcased on their debut album 'Nobody Listens Anymore'. They reflect the Subhumans influence in their early recordings with singer Semi's high octave delivery giving us an alternative Dewsbury slant to the Southern dominated scene. Can't say any one song sticks out above the rest on this album, but with memorable gems like 'It's gotta be stopped', 'American Dream' and my fave 'Hedonism', you know they're a good outfit. During the dubby instrumental of ...'And Out The Other' we are cleverly bought into the second phase of the Instigators career. By now it's the mid 80's and they've grown up and discovered their live passion, shedding 3/4 of the original band, with only Mr Mooney remaining. He's joined by the remnants from another local punk outfit, the Xposez. This change signalled time for the Instigators to incite even more high energetic numbers into their set, confidently crossing over into more mainstream territory. It was new singer, the high kickin, acrobatic, Andy 'Tez' Turner (UK Century Media pusher), who sold the touring drug to the band. As they developed their sound they celebrated the fact with the release of their second album 'Pheonix' in 1986. On checking the sleeve notes, The Instigators seemed to have a good supply of product available, but sadly being on independent labels meant it never reached a wider audience. They were however a gigging machine of epic proportions, and played constantly all over Europe where they were treated like Lords, unlike back home where apathy reigned. Don't think I caught em live? Although I suspect I was in attendance in Wolves once? Oh well I should've paid more attention, instead of getting pissed coz this is a good introduction to one of those hard working, talented but highly ignored bands that came outta the UK 80's punk scene. Comes with a fat booklet of well researched info, lyrics and pix of the band in action.
WORTH A LISTEN
DERITA SISTERS 77
'Back To No Future' CD (K102) 2003
This is a special Derita Sisters offshoot album, featuring 24 punk rock covers from the golden era of '77. Marky Derita and his pink haired German wife Silvie Pussycat front this specially tailored combo, who shine a bright light on their fave tracks. Between his CA twang and her thick German accent they give these songs a novel delivery. In some ways reminding me of that other cover set of Samba punk by Bloco Vomit back in '98, but without the calypso. The real big difference on 'Back To No Future' compared to other cover compilations, is they choose from some of the rare B-sides and tracks not usually found even in bands live sets. There's even a few songs on here no-one would ever dare covering, which takes guts. So Don't worry you won't be getting tired old versions of 'Anarchy', 'White Riot' or 'New Rose', thank gawd! What you do get is a wide selection ranging from some of the bigger guns to the lesser known shootists like....The Boys, Rezillos, Damned, Dickies, The Saints to name but a few. There's also some very obscure bands thrown in for good measure like, The Proles, UXA and The Eyes. To be fare, most of em sound great. But like a lotta cover albums you do get an eclectic mix giving us the odd reason why punk really did deserve a bad name some of the time. Songs like the Cortina's well overrated 'Fascist Dictator', or the bland Celia And The Mutations which were dire first time round. Highlight for me was the Clash cover of '1977', Dead Boys - 'I Won't Look Back', The Saints - 'Demolition Girl' and the impeccable 'Plastic Bag' by X-Ray Spex complete with a good sax reproduction. The arrangements are done with total precision, they don't wander far from the originals, although most have been reworked up a gear. The vocals gives em a definite fresh sheen all of their own too. If you ain't heard the originals already, you got no excuse not to, coz all the bands featured all have web site links printed on the sleeve. 'Back To No Future' is a neat addition to your punk rock collection done with due care by fans of the era! WORTH A LISTEN!
'Lunacy & Devestation' CD
(prison064-2) April 2003
Don't seem like 4 months since I last heard the Heartaches from Antwerp. That particular sitting was on their split CD with the Forgotten. Before I caught my breath, they're back to torment us once more. I wasn't impressed then, and I gotta say this ain't immediately sending any other positive signals in my direction. They are ultimately fucked by yet another faceless Tim Armstrong sound alike in the vocal department. A sandpaper coated larynx is so fuckin lame these days and the individual responsible goes by the name of Leroy (snigger). If these had someone ripping out the songs with a bit of originality in the delivery, then they could possibly have way more future in the punk rock scene. But as it stands here, The Heartaches are destined to be just another bunch of 'also ran' from some Belgium outpost. Kerry Martinez from US Bombs infamy produced these 13 tracks! And you can see vaguely why he was interested, coz they got some good guitar workouts on a track or two. But I doubt he'll be putting this album up on his wall of punk trophy's or bragging about it down the strip!!! The title track 'Lunacy & Devestation' showed a bit of nifty guitar work in an early Buzzcocks kinda format, and was definitely this albums standout track. And maybe 'Ripped To Shreds' shows some depth in it's Clash rip-off intro. But I'm being very generous here! What I wanna know is, where the fuck are these gonna go from here? You can't make an impact on one songs presence or a bit of name dropping can you? Maybe I'm in the wrong scene here? The Heartaches don't leave much to tempt you with, be it power, style or intrigue. And when they start their folky, acoustic rubbish I quickly fell asleep.These fuckers won't be breaking any hearts real soon unless your the record company. And even they had the nerve to lie through their teeth on the sleeve notes stating that this is "raunchy and honest music from one bored generation to another''.....well I was definitely bored!!! PLASTIC
'Scandinavian Leather' CD
The one we been waiting for and the highly anticipated follow up to 1998's punk rock classic 'Apocalypse Dudes'. Turbo Negro the Norwegian lords of sleaze with a weird sensa yuma are back! Currently out on a world tour and flogging their now leather clad goods to a growing army of denim and sailor clad devotees. Having sufficiently recovered from a premature breakup on the verge of world domination back in '98, they return in soiled bloodied denim to scare us! This album was touted by the bands multi layered guitar hero Euroboy, as their best album to date! That's one mighty claim even by his power chord standards!!! And 'Scandinavian Leather' is one well constructed Rock album for sure, but the potent punk ingredient is only present in very short doses. Don't get me wrong, there's some really good songs on here, but it ain't the classic we were promised. Turbo Negro have turned their perverted sights on Heavy Metal, and it don't leave half the impact the previous punk masterpiece left. The intro sequence boasts a synthesized ambience that leads unsuspecting listeners into a false sense of insecurity. This could be something from a 70's 'War Of The Worlds' concept album until the deadly guitars of 'Wipe it till it bleeds' kick in. They are joined by an orchestrated sound, reminiscent of Chiefs Of Relief...anyone? The album only truly kicks off with the pumping 'Turbo Negro Must Be Destroyed'. A throbbing monster of a track, that comes closest to the 'Dudes' period, with it's addictive anthem of negativity and those "No..No.. No". Hanks vocals on this set have lost a lotta their sinister edge. Although his warped intro to the blatant chugging heavy metal of 'Sell Your Flesh To The Night', was his only major high point. Guitars still reign supreme in Turbo space. 'Remain Untamed' greets us with one of those big dirty riffs and more throbbing bass. However it lacks that certain unique raw power we know the band can deliver. 'Train Of Flesh' their most obvious sexual gratification song (one of a set of many I might add) gets off to a familiar riffy start, but quickly falls into rock territory once more. They make one last throw of the dice as the keyboard driven middle eight saves this track from HM obscurity, by building up into a memorable climax. The epic 'Fuck The World' and new 45 changes mood once more with a piano playing rock ballad, that despite what it sounds like in print, bodes pretty well on the ears. As the air-raid siren triggers another Jeff Beck type of guitar soundscape, they build up into the anthemic "just gimme a minute.... while I Fuck The World!" . This band may not be the saviours of our punk rock universe on this set, but this album underlines their musical dexterity. We then jump out the rock opera universe into the solitary 'La Saboteur' . This is a great track as it sly's in with a sinister accordion, bringing to mind Parisian brothels in occupied France. Hank serenades us in French to a well loaded gritty riff that made em infamous! Turbo Negro sign off in fine style on a song that would have Motorhead looking on in envy, as they rev up their engines and ride off into a denim clad sunset via 'Ride With Us'. This album definitely grows on you with more plays, but I suggest checking out 'Apocalypse Dudes' for the band at maximum power. As they so aptly put it..."when everybody hates you, you got nothing to lose". These aint got nothing to lose, but our expectations always ride high with this band!!! WORTH A LISTEN
VARIOUS 'Up Yours...'
CD March 2003
This 26 tracker came free with the March 2003 issue of Mojo Magazine. And it supposedly represents the old and the new PUNK bands out there today. What that really means is some classic late 70's punk rock beefs up the decidedly inferior new marketable 'punk' acts of today. I say 'punk' in a very lose term here, but I'll try and show mercy. The Strokes from New York are hotly tipped by Noel Gallagher, so straight away lose credibility. They bring us a weak but clean sounding new waveish kinda song called 'This Is The New Age', which does own a very catchy chorus. The over hyped Hives from Sweden are highly stooged up on their track 'Main Offender'. This band would make for a great Iggy tribute band, but are way too close for comfort to realistically claim their own sound. Comes complete with Iggy squeals too! Hot Hot Heat from Canada were a total bore. I hate the name and never rated XTC much either, who they ape big time. This kinda plagiarism don't get me excited at all. Erase Errata bring us some kinda disco punk from the East Bay area. They are the Slits circa 'Cut' on their scratchy 'Tongue Tied'. The Hunches from Portland, Oregon (Where the fucks Sado-Nation when ya need em?) have got a young Jimmy Osterberg on vocals. They scratch their way through a raspy 'Lisa Told Me'. Part Chimp try and tempt us with a heavy distorted guitar, but with a name like this and that UK Brit pop feel, it was always going back in the cage. The Catheters were another chore, and hailing from Seattle they positively rejoice in regurgitating that Mudhoney sludge for our sins. New York's Yeah Yeah Yeah's who are really getting big press coverage in the UK, create a sparse DIY drums 'n' guitar sound. They do offer some originality as they run through the addictive 'Our Time'. Those crackly, sickly Karen O vocals hit a maternal chord, but this sounds almost like it came from the late 60's peace movement! More UK press darlings The Libertines were a very big disappointment. These cunts sound like swinging London 40 years too late. Hated those weak guitars too. Sleater-Kinney the former Riot Girrls turned good from Olympia, sound like one of those early 80's indie outfits that Rough Trade and John Peel foisted upon us. Heartfelt vocals, but a bit too tinny for my power chord taste. On the sleeve it said "you can't get more punk than Mudhoney!" Do me favour perrrrleazzzeee!!! These fat Seattle wankers need a gun sticking down their throat...and I'll volunteer to pull the trigger. The Warlocks from LA sound psychedelic and arty in a muddy kinda way. Definitely not my thang at all!!! Lastly the quirkily named Swearing At Motorists don't hail from Accrington Stanley, but Dayton, Ohio. They're a duo of indie inspired chancers who probably will fare OK in the student world of the University gig circuit, but this ain't punk maaaan!!! Of the old and genuine punk tracks on show, you just can't go wrong! Everyone is a potential classic! We got the Pistols on a Submarine mission, The Clash in '1977', X- Ray Spex looking for an 'Identity' and Iggy & The Stooges about to 'Search & Destroy'. Plus another 8 crucial tracks to add to your CD collection. A good mix of old punk and dodgy new pretenders ain't the best advert, but it's a neat supplement. Maybe if they featured Turbo Negro, Kylesa, Girlush Figure or Mad Sin we'd sit up and take notice! WORTH A LISTEN for the 70's tracks only.
THE METEORS 'Psychobilly'
CD March 2003
Now here's a band who are the undisputed Granddaddy's of Psychobilly, not forgetting The Cramps of course! And although they may have influenced loads of diagonally quiffed combos throughout the years. The Meteors to this punk, never seem to live up to the hype and gore of their bloody reputation, sonically speaking at least. Compared with outfits like the way superior and highly energetic Mad Sin, the Meteors are pretty one dimensional indeed! But lets give credit where credits due, they're 20 years old this year. And to celebrate that fact, they have sporned 'Psychobilly', as a defiant howl on their return to the fray. This their latest 12 track offering to the devil of rock 'n' roll is however on the whole pretty tame. This album falls short in the high expectations department, and I'm sure 'old Nick' wouldn't give these transistorised vets a second glance either. But P. Paul Fenech, the bands mainstay lead singer/guitarist does have a good picky guitar style. Pity the energy and power is lacking big time in their overall sound. Tales of perversion, violence and horror have dogged this band since day one, but they fail to deliver anything slightly risqué studio wise on here. I wanted and expected something way more hard hitting and tense, but what we get here are 12 formularised, thinly coated psychobilly workouts. When I hear this stuff it reminds me why this genre never got me excited in the first place. This album won't be tempting very many punks to check em out! 'Psychobilly' to all intents and purposes is strictly for the Meteors diehard wrecking crew fan base only! Talking of which, If this is the music your meant to 'wreck' to at gigs, I just can't see it meself? I'd personally need way more bombs of snot in the grooves to get me psyched up. Mr Fenech's snotty vocals are genuine enough though, but besides the expletives in song subjects, this collection harks way back to the safer and tamer climates of Bill Haley and his Comets, than it does in representing today's darker side. I enjoyed their Shadowesque styled, James Bond instrumentals, like 'Blood beat'. But it was left to the one true gem on this album... 'The Forsaken', for em to really excel. This track boasted a very impressive guitar sound, that should have spy movie producers everywhere clamouring for it's future use. Those twisted warped notes that Fenech teases out from his instrument are very distinctive indeed. Other highlights were a cover of Anti Nowhere Leagues 'I Hate People' , the PIL inspired drumbeat of 'Hellfire' or at a push 'I could kill you', which kicked off with a good raunchy chunky riff. Sadly they never dwell on these sporadic moments of class, for too long. The Meteors seem to be straining to put out a decent albums worth of new material these days. And as if anticipating a luke warm reception, P.P. Fenech half heartedly sings solo..."No-one likes us, but we don't care!" as the album closes. Maybe this latest resurgence in the bands career signals a new lease of life? Lets hope so, for the sake of the devout Wrecking Crew!!! AVERAGE
THE RUNS 'So Bad We're Good' Demo CD 2003
All the way from Pittsburgh,US comes The Runs. They are the latest ensemble formed by that local maniac Sam Sinister (from Outsider Webzine infamy) who is the true star of this bunch. This 16 track recording reminds me of Torcha Shed's early rehearsal tapes...it's that rough! And sounds like it was recorded on a portable cassette player as the band run through a rehearsal. A rough demo of this quality is stretching the imagination to it's outer limits in this digital age, so if the Runs really wanna give us something to worry about, they gotta get into a real studio fast. They do manage to shit out a couple of worthy tunes, in-between some well chosen and well worn covers (Who, Pistols, Troggs, and Jerry Lee Lewis!!!). They kick off proceedings with a neat cover of Iggy's 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', complete with dog hoowwwllss courtesy of Mr Sinister. At least it shows you that the kids today do have taste. Sam's vocals have the makings for a great new snotty front man to scare your parents with. I bet his ad-libs get the front rows reaction big time! However he's held back by lashings of out of tune riffy guitars and a bad rhythm section. I think the Runs are either very drunk, stoned or rank outsiders...just take yer pick? Their own original songs just don't touch the covers. To be fair they borrowed a drummer to record these, so it's early days in the Runs illustrious career. Sam's favourite track was called 'Whiskey Man' which had some funny lyrics in an early Angry Samoans kinda way, but it was '(There Is No Right) Side Of The Bed' which was the real standout. This track actually had a rough gem of a chorus some of the bigger bands would've gladly nicked. This band need way more songs of this calibre, and way more rehearsals if they wanna be a real threat to the local neighbourhood. They've added an extra 4 covers on the end (Crazy 8's session), which are recorded and played in a slightly superior mode. Not suprisingly a demo of this quality won't score em any gigs outside drunken friends parties, the grossly stupid or maybe a residence in the Baghdad Hilton. The Runs are just about to make their live debut on June 30th so we'll just have to wait for CNN news reports of civil unrest on the streets of Pittsburgh? For attitude... WORTH A LISTEN! For delivery NO FUTURE!
'Sweet & Innocent?...Loud & Dirty' CD March 2003
This band never fails to deliver the goods. Originally released back in 1998, People Like You... have rereleased 19 tracks (including 4 unreleased bonus tracks) of adrenaline soaked Rockabilly punk. And please don't be put off by the 'Rockabilly' tag, coz these larger than life German lunatics are way more punk in attitude and sound than a lotta the so-called bands playing punk today. From the spaghetti westernised intro of 'Sin City Calling' to the bass slapping 'Misplaced' we are bombarded with an array of crazy sounding, ultra addictive sounds that you'll never get tired of playing. 'All This And More' contains a great dirty riff to send it's sung/spoken chorus on it's way down to hell. Followed closely by 'Dead Men Tells No Tales' with it's ghostly Boris Karloff intro of ..."you bastard you did this to me but you'll not escape" . Also that buzzsaw riff together with some quirky high notes, seals this songs fate. This blinder really buries itself into your subconsciousness, before going off into that mesmerizing whistling middle eight. Mad Sin's greatest talent is their ability to fill their songs with loads of atmospheric ideas and all of em are so addictive! This bands imagination must be working overtime, or the drugs in old Berlin are doing their job these days? Talk about lazy bands, this grafting outfit are the benchmark for sweat 'n' guts. A lot of their songs have by now gotten themselves a familiar sound and theme, which is totally Mad Sin in style and origin. They may nick styles from everywhere, but distort em enough and in such a way they become their own. If it works time and time again, why change the magic formula? Big Koefte Deville, the manic singer is still ringmaster in this carnival of insanity. He's gotta be one of the 21st century's truly inspirational front men, both in sound and angst. I like the way they inject at the drop of a hat what sounds like medieval monks chanting in the middle of 'Russian Roulette' before rolling into the Lux Interior inspired 'Under The Wires'....ending of "click click click". There's a rare neat duel female vocal on 'Club Sin A Go Go', that sounds like a demented Tina Turner sodden with Jack Daniel's! The one track on here that was a major letdown was the acoustic 'Moustache'. This basically sums up the Psychobilly weaknesses. I much prefer Mad Sin with electricity and amplification at their disposal, coz as the stakes get razed so does their highly activated compositions. But outta 19 tracks, only one Turkey is no mean feat! 'No More Trick Or Treat' reaches for the anthem overkill of their previous release, and is destined to be an alternative Halloween themetune, especially with those chunky Steve Jones guitars and that big chorus. 'Sweet & Innocent?...Loud & Dirty' ain't quite as impressive as the anthem laden 'Survival Of The Sickest', but this is the very next best thing. Live sightings of the band are reported to be as furious, so can't wait to check em out for meself one of these days soon. WORTH A LISTEN www.madsin.com/
'Out In The Red' CD (036-2) March 2003
Be Jyyyzzzussusss these Swedes are fucking hilarious. They have gotta be one of punks best kept secret jokes!!! Formerly known as Venereal Disease when they formed back in 1991. They then changed their name (which is always suspect in a punk band) to the safer Venerea by '94. All in the hope of major label recognition I bet. Well it didn't pay off as they went on to produce an array of ultra harmonic pretentious sounding pop-punk, that positively stinks of all the bad traits you'd associate with this genre. The lyrical content alone makes me think of those middle class high school jocks who only hooked up with punk coz it pissed off their rich company boss dad! The vocals alone are so sickeningly plastic, they could be voice overs for teenage Durex adverts. Venerea are in love with themselves, but one thing comes even before that, and it's their lifestyle changing impersonation of the American
dream scene!!! Why do Europeans have to ape the worst things about US punk, ain't they got a character of their own? What's even worse than that is they probably believe their own hype too ha! Take 'Headfoot' with it's pompous talk-throughs done with that prominent and permanent fake American accent. The lead singer alone needs a reality check or a good thick dose of the 'pox' to stop us all from laughing him out the scene! I dunno whether to laugh or cry it's that much of a pose. Their one claim to fame could be a neat fuzzy guitar sound and squeaky clean production, but even those are totally spoiled by loads of that stop/start hardcore these jerks shoot their load doing these days. You gotta hear track 11 'You Should Be On Fat' which has the most pompous lyrics I've heard since maybe Rikki And The Last Days Of Earth. And the way they're delivered is just the cheese on Venerea's dick!!! I suspect this track was meant as a rye attack on the Fat Wreckords label for not signing em up. But you know what, these jokers would fit on that label so perfectly....so take it away Mike..."My balls they itch and I'm too fat to scratch, or maybe life's a bitch with a fat moustache, it tickles my scrotum but it won't make me come, no it wont make me spray but it wont go away!" ...see what I mean! PLASTIC |
CONFLICT 'Carlo Giuliano' (Mortcd190) 45/CD April 2003
Latest release from London's Anarcho big guns...Conflict. I gotta say this release harks back to the formidable, no messing Conflict of old. They've got a battery of fuzzy rejuvenated rifferama power at their disposal these days. This time around they lay into the murderers of Italian peace protester, Carlo Giuliano (the song subject matter). Now I don't know much about the story behind Carlo's death or how he actually got killed? I just remember seeing something on the news like everyone else did? I suspect it wasn't in self defence he got hit by a bullet or baton!!! And your in no two minds about how Conflict see the situation. The record itself has an angry frantic sound that grows on you with more plays. Not quite as memorable as some of their early 80's tracks, but the beefy riff alone is enough to keep you interested for the duration. This ain't as involved as their previous single “Now you’ve put your foot in it” released in 2001, but it's a record what'll have the Anarcho punk population frothing at the mouth. 'A Gaping Hole' on the b-side continues the powerful guitar presence, as Colin applies more pressure and gives his tonsils a heavy workout. You can feel the strain as his voice finally starts to shred, but he holds on like an Anarchist demon to the last! Conflict's best weapon these days is their all new powerhouse sound, it's clean and big enough in production to allay transistorized accusations and convey their angry message across the barricades. This 45 is dressed in a classic Conflict style sleeve as the Italian riot Police lines up as GuIliano's bloodied and battered body lies on the tarmac out front. Message received!
WORTH A LISTEN
THE FORGOTTEN/HEARTACHES Split CD (049-2) 2003
Two more new bands reemerge from the high quality I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison record label. Maybe I expect too much?, coz they seem to be signing up inferior bands lately. I remember reading about the Forgotten from San Mateo, CA in the MRR, circa '97. In those days they were being classed as Rancid soundalikes and were very peeved at the claim too. Well 6 years down the road and they've mastered their instruments to a worthy degree. But they've also matured into a pretty mellow outfit which don't really suit em that much. They seem to have lost the hunger, as they resemble a tired old bunch of UK punk picnic rejects these days. There's an edge missing from their sound and unlike some of the better bands on the People Like You...roster such as Smooth & Greedy, Thug Murder or Mad Sin , these just don't come close! Gordy the singer still has that Tim Armstrong delivery, but it don't do em any favours as they run through 8 pedestrian street punk tracks. They do give us a suprise cover of Generation X's - 'Your Generation', which was easily the best track on here. But their own songs sadly don't stand up to the superior covers, which is always a bad omen in a band. They did flex their muscles on 'Guilty As Charged', which showed some creative promise, but again it wasn't pursued far enough. They close their set with the other cover highlight of GBH's 'I Am Hunted'. Which may not do The Forgotten any favours but it proves the Brummie godfathers still hold a tight grip on the California street punk scene! As a foreboding Air Raid siren ushers in the Heartaches. I felt a case of deeja vu creeping in. The Heartaches who hail from Belgium sound exactly like The Forgotten's long lost Euro twin!!! You'd be forgiven for thinking this split CD was done by the same East Bay band!!! I only found out this was a split after some detective work on the Prison site. No track lists or info sometimes does that? These Belgium street punks have a slightly more gruff vocal delivery. And like the Forgotten, goes well with the punk they're trying to sell us. But on this session we just ain't gonna buy it! Again there ain't no major standout tracks to write home about. Just good musicianship, which don't always mean great songs!!! Both bands are more than capable of delivering tight street punk but without no individuality or something original to chew on, they're destined to be sectioned off down the Prison block! And they should remain there till at least they can come up with something a lot more thought provoking in the ideas department. AVERAGE