VARUKERS: One Struggle One Fight, Still Bollox but Still Here: CDs

At this point, the list of so-called “Discore” groups is a long one up to its eyeballs in unremarkable bands that are nothing more than piss-poor clones or cover bands. A very small handful, however, have managed to take the template set forth by Discharge and up the ante, as it were. One such exception is the Varukers. Arguably the first band to demonstrate an overt Discharge influence, no doubt in part because the two shared members at different points, and make frequent use of the same subject matter and haiku-style lyrics, they also had the sense to throw in some other elements, like speeding the fugg outta the tempos and slipping a wee bit o’ harmony in the midst of all the bellowing. By the time their second album, One Struggle One Fight, came out, they pretty much had a lock on their niche and the album is a classic of punk’s anarcho-punk subgenre. Released around the same time as Discharge began their slide into speed metal, then glam rock, the tunes here are fast and trimmed of any excess fat, with lyrics covering all the pertinent political topics of the day, from nuclear war to animal rights to a South Africa still in the throes of its lovely apartheid system. Added to this reissue is the Massacred Millions 12” and some truly devastatin’ tracks from some long out-of-print compilation. By the time Still Bollox but Still Here hit the streets, the band had broken up and reformed and decided they needed a release to let the world know they were still firmly rooted in the punk camp. The decision to re-record fifteen of their “classics” was partly because they wanted to provide their fans access to versions of the songs without having to pay ridiculous “collectors” prices to hear ’em and to demonstrate where they were at musically since it had been some time since they had been raising a ruckus. The result is a tight, cohesive release with some of their best work—unlike, say, Suicidal Tendencies’ ill-advised attempt at revisiting Welcome to Venice—actually improved upon with these recordings. Tunes like “Protest and Survive” and “Seek Shelter in Hell” are fuggin’ white hot here, and the included tracks from the Nothing’s Changed EP show that current crop of music the new lineup was churning out was right along the same lines. The results were/are two solid releases worthy of any punk’s collection, and the fact that they are still out and about, outliving both their primary influence and most of their peers by more than a couple decades, sets earns ’em many Brownie points.

 –jimmy (Captain Oi)