Rude Rebels  –  Neville and Sugary Staple (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

766248If  Two-Tone was the perfect storm of the imported Jamaican ska and reggae sounds and the punk spirit and wild energy that was fermenting in British inner cities in the late 70’s then Rude Rebels is nothing short of a continuation of that story. Far from being a nostalgic look back it is a glorious next instalment from people who helped define it and champion it in the first place.

As singer and toaster in The Specials, one of the leading lights of that sharp dressed musical revolution, Neville Staple footnote in the annals of music history is more than assured and here he is joined not only by his partner-in-crime Sugary Staple but also by Specials incendiary guitarist Roddy “Radiation” Byers. Together they journey through punked up anthems, dancehall ska, sweet rebel reggae, dub and bluebeat originals in a celebration of the sounds and styles that fused when the children of West Indian migrants to the UK grew up running around with disillusioned punks, soul boys and musical explorers.

With next year being the 40th Anniversary of The Specials and 2Tone Records, its release is perfect timing particularly because Rude Rebels pulses with all the creative energy and musical deftness that beat at the heart of the original movement. Rebel Down kicks things off with a brilliant blast of punk driven defiance, the ska licks complimented by Byers beloved rock’n’roll moves before heading off into smoother, more soulful territory. Boy (Dub Out) is quite expectedly based in dub heavy grooves and Original Rudegirl Sound reminds us that it wasn’t just the boys driving the new ska party. The Border follows more  reggae lines and Way of Life is a timeless infectious skanking celebration.

It would be easy for the people behind such a record to sit back on their laurels, to feel that their work has already been done and they could just coast through. No-one would say that they haven’t already made their contribution. But the fact that Rude Rebels contains all the energy, verve and passion of the original Two Tone scene explains why the genre and artists such as the Staples and Byers are still as relevant as ever.

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Slagerij – Serious Fun (reviewed by T Bebedor)

The+front+fucking+coverThe first thing that grabs you about this 5-track E.P. from Swindon punk trio Slagerij is the energy, obviously punk has energy in bags but within five seconds of hearing their music your head, or feet (or both) will be moving.

Over the years punk has taken on many different flavours, from it’s emergence in the mid 70’s it’s evolved from the grimy, grotty New York scene, through the 80’s with the safety pins, studs and hairstyles to make the eyebrows raise, to 90’s MTV-friendly skater punk before finally coming to today’s offering from bands like Idles, Superchunk and Creeper, but it’s obvious that there is an attraction and strong following for this genre.

Sitting at the same dinner table as Green Day and Rancid, Slagerij grab hold of you and refuse to let go until the ride is over. Their take on punk has the catchy chorus of Billy Joe Armstrong, the bass tone of Matt Freeman and the fast, frantic tempo drumming of Travis Barker of Blink 182

This isn’t your Ramone-style two-minute onslaught, this is more the 90’s skater punk that blew over the Atlantic mixed in with the British punk, particularly The Clash, who delved into reggae and ska and made punk more accessible and, dare I say it, commercial.

What you get is five belting tracks from a very good band that would make a nice introduction to some home grown punk and wouldn’t sound out of place at your standard house party. The usual suspects are here, metronomic drumming, some intricate high-hat work, screams, moments to jump around, strong distorted guitar, cleverly placed bass lines and a growly singer and the end results are pretty good. It’s hands in the air party time.

I’m often reluctant to jump into a punk album, purely because the end result can be a let down when compared to the songs being played live, punk thrives and lives off the energy of the band and the audience and that energy is often lost in the recording studio but it seems to be all present and correct here and it feels like the band had fun recording it. It’s not easy taking that energy of a hundred moving people and recreating it in a studio but what this small taster has done is make me keep an eye out for these lads when they play live, it promises to be one hell of a show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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