One aspect of music like this (“street punk” or “oi” or “oi/punk” or “punk/oi” or “oink” or “street oink” or “essentially reminiscent of something that woulda been on a BYO comp about twenty years ago” or something [i don’t know, it’s a young man’s taxonomy these days]) that i feel never really gets brought to light is that music “like this” is unfailingly equipped with an implicit demand to be given, if nothing else, points for a certain populist Purity of Intention – yet, historically, the bands making said music have proven themselves to be no more inherently corruption-free than the next schmucks. I mean, it ain’t like Cock Sparrer (whom they cover) were just sitting around a pub or a West Ham game one Saturday afternoon, drinking pints of Stella, when suddenly, devoid of all exterior influence, there was this miraculous serendipity attack where all of ’em hopped up in unison, kicked over a fruit machine, yelled “I’VE GOT IT! WE’LL BE A BAND!” and dashed down the streets looking for gear to, uh, “nick” – if you go back and listen to those old records, it’s pretty obvious that Cock Sparrer were trying to be Slade and/or Sweet (glam rock class of ’73 or so) to the best of their abilities (at least at times); even Slaughter “Where Have All the Boot Boys Gone” And The Dogs got their name from cross-breeding David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and (late Bowie gtr-ist) Mick Ronson’s Slaughter on 10th Avenue album titles (which is, of course, absolutely fine – i’m a big Sweet and Slade fan and i barely even hate David Bowie any more) and i don’t think we even need bother touching on how bands like the UK Subs, Anti-Nowhere League, Cockney Rejects and Blitz were all-too-ready to dress up (and sound) like Adam & the Ants or U2 or Loverboy when the fickle farts of public taste starting blowing downwind again. My point – which i guess now that i think about it is a little more obvious than i initially thought it was – is that music “like this” is just as rife with contamination and corruption potential as, i dunno, music “like that.” Case in point: Side one, track one is called “Music for the People” (as opposed to WHAT? Music for the end table?). First line of first song is, of course, “This is the music for the people! This is the music for the people!” (and, heck, while i’m up, i’d like to thank Wednesday Night Heroes, The, for taking the time to speak for all humanity! Keep up the good work!) This, of course, implies that this music is PURE! INCORRUPTIBLE!! NEVER TO BE CO-OPTED FOR THE SERVICE OF THE MAN!!! (note: “The Man” is different than “The People.” I don’t know why. Like i said, it’s a young man’s taxonomy) Yet, if you listen to the break right after the chorus, where the guy just kinda repeats “What you put us through!”, hear that little rhythm change thing? Yeah, that. That’s not a punk rock thing. Nor an oi thing. Nor an (etc. etc.) thing. That is not and has never been found in any valid subset of the punk rock, uh, taxonomy (?) whatsoever. That’s a ’90s alterna-rock Gen X Mountain Dew® commercial thing, sure as i’m settin’ here, pal. IMPURE! UNCLEAN!! TAINT OF CORRUPTION!!! I don’t really have a problem with kids trying to re-create the rush they got when they saw the Dropkick Murphys at the Warped™ Tour (or whoever at whatever) when they were fifteen, but ultimately i kinda just wanted them to go be young somewhere else. That said, let the record show that you actually COULD plug “Music for the People” onto either side of the “Someone Got Their Head Kicked In” comp and there really wouldn’t be any noticeable drop-off in quality, which is, realistically, about as good as one could hope for. BEST SONG: The Cock Sparrer cover on the 45 RPM side on 33, although i can’t say as i tried the 33 RPM side on 45 yet. WORST SONG TITLE: “Persevere” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The font used for the lyrics is called “Device,” and it is currently one of the fonts being used for the in-store promotional materials for Burger King’s new 99¢ menu.
–norb (Longshot Music)