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Monday, 18 February 2013

U.K SUBS - XXIV (*A Review*)


Charlie Harper and his United Kingdom Subversives are almost there in their mission to release an album for every letter of the alphabet. XXIV is the 24th UK Subs album, and it's one of two halves each in places as brutal and beautiful as the other one,  it catches the Subs at the top of their game. The importance of the UK Subs in the history of punk rock should never be forgotten and XXIV is a reminder to those who may have lost their minds! It encapsulates everything that makes the Subs such a great band, and sounds like all the best bits from A to W. It takes no prisoners, its an aural assault, a sonic cosh that gets yer head banging and bangs yer head. at the same time. The musicianship is masterful and Pat Collier has done another brilliant production job. There's plenty of social and political commentary, delivered in a series of short sharp shocks to the senses with, ringing, singing guitars, power house drums and thumping, throbbing bass, and some great vocal delivery. These are frenzied stomping songs of freedom delivered with power, passion and conviction. With their fingers on the pulse the UK Subs are the beating punk rock heart.

From the total rock out of opening track Implosion 77 to the thumping and crunching closer Momento Mori the songs on the 'electric' album explode and rain down like a blitzkrieg. Song writing duties on XXIV have been shared amongst the band, which gives the album a broad mix of songs, ranging from the almost metal to the total punk, there's even a Rockabilly vibe going on in Wreckin' Ball. Bassist Alvin Gibbs takes over the vocals for several numbers, including the rather brilliant Black Power Salute, which waves a fist of freedom in the air, “....to signify the truth.” The harmonica laced blues punk social commentary of Coalition Government Blues is what it says on the tin. Speed thrashes about at a furious pace and Rabid is just that, a rapid romp of crashing guitars and pounding drums. Garden Of Good And Evil chugs and chops its way down the Rock'n'Roll highway. Workers Revolution lifts the lid on the capitalist con with beefy guitars, crashing drums and a catchy call to arms to find our own solution. Failed State is the bastard puppy of Iggys I Wanna Be Your Dog.
UK Subs in the studio (Pic courtesy of Time and Matter)

The bonus   acoustic tracks build on the foundations Charlie laid with the Urban Dogs acoustic album, if you thought that was good, you should hear this one. It contrast brilliantly with the rest of XXIV. Starting off off with a Mott The Hoople cover Angel Of Eighth Avenue, lovingly sung by Alvin Gibbs. The Outsider is a haunting lament for those living on the fringes of society. Stop Global War is another classic UK Subs anti-war number. Higher Tide is a punk rock sea shanty about sailing away from it all. Stormy Day is another sea and sailing inspired strum along and Little Black Crow takes a trip down a country road. Then there's Thunders In The Rain, which is Alvin Gibbs tribute to Johnny Thunders. I say tribute, but it's more of a warning to those that wanna emulate their hero.

A must have album? Most definitely! There' more than enough spread out over the 26 tracks to not only keep the die hard UK Subs fan happy, but also to challenge them, and if there's any Rock'n'Roller out there that doesn't have a UK Subs album, then this aint a bad place to start. XXIV doesn't disappoint, it's up there with the best of 'em, but it's also gonna take a hell of a lot for the Subs to top it, and they've only got a couple of letters left, so here's to Y and Z.

AVAILABLE NOW ON CAPTAIN OI RECORDS.

2 comments:

Longy said...

A top review Nuzz and the Subs themselves say so too (see Facebook!)

Monokrom said...

Charlie and the boys are as good as always!!!!
I catched them live in Vienna last week at a storming gig at Chelsea.
See pix from the gig at:
www.monokrom-photos.com