UK SUBS 'Endangered Species'
(ahoycd97) CD 1998.
The Subs 4th studio album from 1982 and following on from the disappointing Diminished Responsibility. This 16 tracker goes off into even more laid-back burnt out territory, and from a promising start was a major letdown. It kicks in on a high with the storming title track 'Endangered Species' and is probably the best track on this album. This newer more powerful sound was hopefully gonna set the scene alight, but alas we were spoilt and it went downhill fast from here on in! Being probably the Subs heaviest sounding sessions of their career Endangered Species had all the power to play with, but the tunes and songs were really fucking dire. They just couldn't hold it on the slower tracks that seemed to plod along in a mundane style. They did manage to salvage something from the bottle of Blues that they had obviously threw down their necks before recording and 'Countdown' underlined it. But this album is just paranoid doom and gloom! It bears no comparison to say 'Brand New Age' and it's high octane hopes. Endangered Species is riddled with the apocalyptic endings, that most punk bands of this era were writing about and watching out for. The Subs versions were just for want of a better word...depressing!!! Their version of the darker side of life just made this a chore to listen too. For every good track (about 4 in all) we've got gangs of crap ones and even the sleeve notes point out it's a love/hate album. Songs like the appalling 'Living dead' with Nicky Garatts horrible robotic vocals were scraping the barrel! Even Charlie's sometime ancient sounding harmonica bursts on 'Ambition' are like listening to all the bad things associated with pub rock. This album is full of dreary fucking dirges!!! 'Fear Of Girls' brings a bit of light relief, showing us a glimmer of what the earlier Subs sound was all about. But even this sounds a touch restricted with these new power chords that Nicky Garratts just discovered. Followed by that white elephant... 'Down On The Farm' (the track covered by Guns N Roses), just shows what superstar rockers know about music...fuck all! Although it paid the Subs some well earned royalties coz of it's million dollar cover, the actual song itself is a fucking joke. If you wanna hear a real tune all about boredom look no further than Iggy's 'No Fun'. This is the Subs trying to be intellectual and failing! The Subs are all about having fun, getting laid, taking speed and loud guitars, not Freudian evaluations of skinheads for gawds sake! I get the feeling this album is a picture of the Subs at their most wasted. They've run out of ideas and have just burnt themselves out!!! So it's a good reminder to Charlie and anyone else how not to write an album. The 4 bonus tracks were bolstered up by demo tracks of 'Keep On Running' and 'Limo life'. With hindsight on this outing who would've put money on em lasting another 18 months let alone 18 years!!! PLASTIC Available for £10.99 worldwide from www.captainoi.com
Compilation Tape 1996/98.
I got this tape along with a copy of their singer/guitarists debut zine Carry No Banners earlier this year. It's a compilation of the Vectors, a snotty three piece punk band from snowy Sweden. The tape consists of their debut 1998 LP and the 1996 'Fuck MTV' 45. It's a pretty frantic in your face baptism too. The Vectors have a Ramones dumbness about em in the short 'n' fast blasts, like opening track 'Straitjacket' . And these speed- freaks have their combat boots firmly on the gas pedal as they speed off around the corners like madmen and leave Da Bruddas for dead as the dust settles. But speed ain't everything and the Vectors sometimes loose the scent as they head off like headless chickens. Their sound for the most part is a powerful one! They sing songs with titles like 'Adolph Hitler Stroll', 'I Hate You' and 'Fuck Punk Rock' which mixes dumbness and don't give a fuck attitudes with pissed of observations. The singing sometimes leaves a lot to be desired and maybe needs a bit more range in style than the constant drone that accompanies most songs. I like em best when they actually move away from the fast as you can blitzkrieg pace like on 'Inconsiderate Requests' . Which has lyrics telling the kids to fuck school off and the music is more diverse and interesting than the usual blazing blasts that dominate the 17 tracks on here. And that mad distorted guitar solo in 'The Message' was good! We could do with seeing more riffs like that in the songs. The last 4 tracks are taken from the EP, which I thought had a more powerful thicker sound than the sometimes tinnier LP tracks. The singing was less one dimensional as well. Standout track of this earlier session was 'I wanna Be With The Cia'. If the LP had the same claustrophobic sound, now that would be a different story. All the songs are sung in a crisp clear English brogue and you'd think they come from Swindon instead of Sweden. Angry pissed of punk bands who don't follow the rules to the letter are always gonna be big in my book, looks like Nihlism is alive and kicking in Sweden. A band to lookout for and there's probably a new EP out now. WORTH A LISTEN for more info see singer Karl's site at SUMMER OF HATE
or write to The Vectors, Per Jansv.1, 903 55 Umea, Sweden.
'Spitting In Your Wishing Well'
I got this after reading a few interviews in various zines. And clocking this fairly new punk band had some pretty well sussed answers to follow the zine revelations of "something good!" However my copy of the demo was sadly chewed up pretty bad, putting me off their scent. But by a stroke of good luck I managed to get hold of some pristine recordings after accidentally colliding into D. Rummer whilst roaming the desolate streets of web sites. True ...honest! And yeah those zinesters were correct. Bug Central are a force to be reckoned with. This 10-trackers has all the hallmarks of becoming something fresh, a new hope in the desperate UK punk scene! Yep it's that good! It kicks off with one of their (and mine) favouritely hated targets the 'Queens English' ... "Xenophobic alienation, homophobic assassination, populous exploitation and argumentary annihilation!" They then power off on to desecrate a load of other religious, preprogrammed cannon fodder freaks, including punks! Bug Central don't let up on this session. And sure know how to stick the boot in! Their victims Church, Crown and State are bought to rights, with some good, intelligent lyrics. Lyrics that are rammed home in a particular antagonistic way, via a well pissed-off singer/guitarist! And he's not the only one! Backed with an unusually good, beefy guitar sound that's aided and abetted with a rhythm section well on the ball. Which can and does give em more scope. Bug Central are all the worst things angry punk has to spew out. And like most 3-pieces they're tight, fast and more to the point enraged! Which I like a lot! Yeah the songs are blasted out and spat at us with a healthy hunger, that suits this type of protest punk down to the ground. This is bad tempered, accessible rage! And any punk worth his salt should get off on it. And you know what?...it ain't thrust down out throats in a whiney "oh woe is me!" kinda way either. Oh no, these fuckers jump right down your throat after it, and ain't content till their quarry lies battered and screaming! They are destined for bigger, better and depraved things! "Punk Is Dead...long live Punk!" WORTH A LISTEN
(Review from the 'Spunk!' newsletter Winter 1999 - Peter Don't Care)
'The Punk Collection
(AhoyCD95) CD 1998.
I loved the early Wall sound and I always thought they were gonna go on to produce something really good when I heard their debut 45 'New Way' way back in 1979, on the then pioneering Small Wonder label. But like a lot of bands with numerous lineups, record labels etc., and re- locating from their native Sunderland to London they lost touch. The Wall seemed to have mislaid that early gritty, spunk very, very quickly. Sure they made some good contacts in the smoke and perhaps it was the right career move at the time? But I don't think Steve Jones producing their second 45 added anything new or gave their sound that extra boom we had (or they had) probably hoped for! They now had a more commercial but pretty average sound. For example on the polished 'Kiss The Mirror' 45 which was their second vinyl outing but already displayed the warning signs. One thing The Wall did have though was an eye for a decent tune but with no other obvious traits became just another good time punk band in a mass of others nestling in the 'indie charts' of the day. Their later songs missed that early fresh sound which was fading fast as the metropolis took hold and blunted their north eastern sharp edges. Their next record the 'Ghetto' EP seemed a bit more like it, especially on the title track with it's big guitar sound and anthem like chorus. And this was produced by yet another name on their CV of punk celebrities, a certain Jimmy Pursey. By the time 'Hobby For A Day' was released in the early 80's you could see why Polydor (always a 'no risk' label) signed em up! They were now a punk band with a message but it was a very diluted message via a safe inoffensive and easy on the ear melodic sound. They still produced the odd outstanding punkier tracks like 'Growing Up' from their No Future 12" which saw em returning to their earlier style lyric wise. And the
'Spirit Dance' track is also worth checking out, but that was it! This 20-track compilation covering the Wall's 6-year career is a good look back at a band who had a bit more going for em than the crash 'n' bang merchants....but you can see why they are a name only remembered in some outposts of the UK punk scene. Some good tunes need a singer with charisma or a message that hits home, but they always lacked that something extra special that stuck em out from the crowd. A history lesson for the more devout punk collector out there but it's very rare I play this AVERAGE release.
'Join The Party' (wrf15) 45 1995.
This is an early 4-track EP sent in by Brezhnev's latest singer, and is a version of the band that has only the current drummer and bass player as surviving members. So it's a pretty posthumous release but worth looking out for coz they've still got a few hundred copies left. The vocalist like MC, has a pretty distinct, dementive vocal approach to the songs which makes em more unique. And the style is a lot more rock 'n' rolla than their 21st century hardcore attack, but just as good. Best track was the 'She Ain't Hormy, She's My Sister' that spells out the trials and tribulations of a close relationship with yer sister. It's got a good dual vocal argument between the singer and the guitarist and goes something like..."you should've guessed by the way I kissed her, she ain't horny she's my sister!" Vocalist Heidi has an early Sean Purcell (Raped) style in the nasal vocals which is always a good sign. And the band pull it off on the rest of these snotty, black humorous odes of guns and killing. Well WORTH A LISTEN. $5.00 from PO Box 57159, 1040 BB Amsterdam, Netherlands. or
THE DERITA SISTERS AND JUNIOR 'Syllagomania' (hsi15) CD 1998.
35 minutes and 22 tracks of goof ball, sarcastic punk rock on the tuneful side of the arena. These 4 middle aged punkers from Santa Barbara, California are about the best at this kinda stuff, fuck the Queers or Screeching Weezels these blow em to kingdom come! 'Syllagomania' (apparently means an addiction to hoard trash) is pretty old stuff now, but worth reviewing as I've been playing this on and off my stereo since I got hold of it last year. They've just done a successful German tour to promote their more recent releases and are popular in Germany compared to their cult listening back home. Maybe it's the humour or anti-PC attitude that keeps em under- ground in the punk scene but it fucking keeps me sniggering all the way through. Forget the Special Duties teary eyed reminiscing about '77, these fuckers actually make it sound interesting as they send it right up on the '77 Forever' listen to this..."Punk today's got nothing to say, Copycats it's all gay!" and that other piss taking ode 'Middle Aged Punker' which spells out all the overweight spectacles that you see hovering around the festivals with precision description. Another highlight is 'Takin The Piss' with the brilliant... "Well slag you for the way you act, we're a bunch of fucking maniacs, we'll talk shit behind your back!" (snigger) Fucking great stuff!!! These are the boys who bait the baiters like it's their god given right, and so it should be! Nothing in punk should be sacred! All they need is targets who can't face the flak and get peeved at their blatant but honest view of the proceedings. Having said all this, there are a few average tracks on here where they don't have the same effect as on their more acidic targets. And if this band didn't have no objects of fun to ridicule they'd be redundant full stop. But there's still plenty of jibes left to keep a few more albums churning out. And the music although takes a back seat to the lyrics, is put across in a cleanly produced way that has rifferama guitars at the ready and a good piss taking vocal. What kind of band could write a song called 'Billy Wank And Bobby Toss' ? This will probably only be lapped up by the male audience as women are viewed as 'fucking' and 'cooking' receptacles!!! Comes with a booklet of lyrics that'll have you laughing or squirming for the replay or reject button!!! WORTH A LISTEN. from Hsirecords@aol.com or visit the bands website at www.deritasisters.com
'Pure Punk Rock'
(AhoyCD96) CD 1998
Didn't know fuck all about these Stoke punks from the early 80's punk scene. But from the off this 25 tracker displays that they are the epitome of UK 82 punk! Very similar in style to other spike 'n' stud outfits like Abrasive Wheels etc. And aped continuously to this day all over America. They've got a good heavy guitar sound produced by Fish (who went onto to join local punks made good Discharge, after the bands demise) which is the biggest asset of the Skeptix sound. The songs are blasted out as though their lives depended on it and the production is pretty consistent all the way through. However the vocals are pretty average and come across as though the singer (aptly named Snotty) had a head full of snot when he recorded em! He does however get rid of that big lump of phlegm in his throat by the time 'Got no choice' is dispatched halfway through! The subject matter is typical protest, pissed off dole queue rants and antiwar blasts, that are good and well meaning but sound pretty naive in today's climate.The Skeptix split up in '83 and probably done all they could by then with the advent of a post-punk climate beckoning. Highlights at a push had to be 'Vendetta' , 'Born To Lose' and their one and only LP title track 'So The Youth'. AVERAGE www.captainoi.com