ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE: The Cage: LP

Jan 27, 2023

Reissue of ANL’s 2016 album, and it’s new to me, a big fan of the band’s first and third albums. Like modern Exploited records, there’s some good music here. Unfortunately for both veteran bands, the music is disappointingly obscured and softened by a super clean, ’90s metal style production (with unnecessary double kick drums) and bloated arrangements where the average song length is over four minutes. Anti-Nowhere League has always been at their best on record when raw, in your face, and straight to the fucking point. Obviously they can’t make We Are… The League! over and over again, so I certainly don’t begrudge Animal for branching out and trying things, but if this album was three songs and twenty-five minutes shorter, with a raw, punchy punk rock production, I’d love it. As is, I like a few songs (“The Last Cowboy,” “A Bad Storm,” “Ain’t We ‘Avin’ Fun”) but rarely make it to the end of the rest of ’em. We must end on a positive note, and luckily that’s an easy call: Animal’s excellent tribute to living legend Charlie Harper of U.K. Subs dubbed “Uncle Charlie” is both well deserved and obviously heartfelt, written by one old punk legend to another. –Chad Williams (PHR, phr.cz)

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