MISTER X: ...какими мы ст : LP

Nov 13, 2013

Very solid oi/streetpunk from this Belarusian band. I forget sometimes how slow a lot of the classic ‘80s oi really is. While clearly influenced by those classic bands, Mister X play a more up-tempo style that employs simple but catchy guitar leads reminiscent of bands from the last fifteen years like Discipline, Pressure Point, and Marching Orders. No new ground is being broken here, and that’s beside the point. A cursory look at the history of Belarus implies that things are pretty tough for its citizens, living under a repressive, Soviet-like government. You know it’s bad when you’ve had the same “president” for almost thirty years and are dubbed the “Last Dictatorship in Europe.” So lyrical topics (an English-translated lyric sheet is thankfully included) that sometimes seem silly or generic coming from American or Western European streetpunk bands take on an entirely new light coming from a band like this. Songs about their own punk scene (“Three Chords”), living with totalitarian leaders (“They…”) and life’s daily struggles (“Life Is Life” and “Who Were We”) seem much more urgent, relevant, and worthy of consideration, coming from this environment. And rest assured, there’s no doubt which side of the skinhead divide these guys stand on with the guitarist’s “Anti-Fascist” t-shirt, the powerful though lyrically awkward Iron Cross cover (“Crucified for your sins” has a lot more syllables in Russian!) and the praise of Desmond Dekker and Laurel Aitken in “Skinhead Reggae.” All in all, an excellent LP. Mister X: так трымаць!

 –Chad Williams (Mangy Little Mut / Street Influence, si-rex.com / Street Beat, vk.com.sbrbygrdiy / No Pasaran, nopasaran.pl)