SLICE OF LIFE: Love and a Lamp-Post: CD

Two affirmatives and one negative: Yes, this is Steve Ignorant’s latest musical endeavor; yes, the lion’s share of musicians making up the rest of the band are folks who joined him on his “Last Supper” tour a few years back; no, my spiky-headed homie, this sounds nothing like Crass, Conflict, Stratford Mercenaries, or any other band he’s been in prior. Hell, if you base such things on sonic equivalencies and definitions that have been hammered home over several decades, most wouldn’t even define this as a “punk” album. Gone are Steve’s chord-shredding vocals, the staccato guitars and martial drums, and in their place are soft pianos, acoustic guitar, upright bass, the odd trumpet, harmonies, and :::GASP!::: the man actually singing, thick Cockney accent ‘n’ all. Often more contemplative and introspective, but no less angry, bitter, and outspoken, the songs get their point across more effectively via personal snapshots than Crass’s more obvious finger-wagging moments. It’s an ambitious effort—part singer-songwriter, part-Billy Bragg activist, part storyteller—and one that will no doubt polarize the legions of fans expecting him to blast them against the back wall. As anyone with some knowledge of the breadth of what once fell under the umbrella definition of “anarcho-punk” can tell ye, though, this falls right in line with that scene’s “express yerself how thou wilt” mentality. Is it my personal cup o’ tea? Not sure quite yet; my initial reaction is “no,” but I can see myself quickly warming to the “art” and sheer chutzpah, not to mention that, on the whole, they’re not terrible songs in the least. Would I recommend it? Most definitely, especially to the average punker ‘cause, let’s be honest here, if this record challenges your sensibilities, you need to play it until you realize that’s exactly what “punk” is supposed to do. 

 –jimmy (Overground)