Reviews

Ben Marshall

The Bench / The Bois split EP

Another in the Inflame singles series, this time pairing Russia’s very own the BENCH with the BOIS all the way from the Lion City. Not much in the way of anything earth-shattering here—the BENCH suffers from that over-produced clean sound that a lot of modern European Oi! also does, the sort of thing you’d see shortly after doors at Rebellion. Serviceable, but I’ve already forgotten the tune approximately 30 seconds after stopping listening to it. The BOIS offer something slightly different, having decided to pursue a more mod-type sound, which while not completely awful, basically does just sound like landfill indie, as if the ORDINARY BOYS or the RIFLES sang about racial unity rather than the seaside.

Pressure Pact Discography cassette

Lads, I dunno about you lot, but I’m absolutely sick to bastard death of having to think. Leave that to the boffins in the white coats, send your brain on a holiday, and stick this tape on. Compiling the recorded output of this Dutch Oi!/hardcore mob to date, it’s a frantic mess of ferociously barked vocals, creepy-crawl riffs, and a rhythm section as taut as you like. It’ll bore straight through your skull and give you chimp brain a tickle; you’ll be unlocking your inner Neanderthal and sticking your head through a brick wall by track three. An abso-bloody-lute belter.

Sta. Cruz Asedio Constante EP

Some good old-fashioned, hairy-arsed, short-haired rock’n’roll from the hit factory that is Mendeku Diskak. Bizkaian mob STA. CRUZ aren’t here to reinvent the wheel, but instead just to make a very fucking good wheel actually. Good time riffs by way of ROSE TATTOO or NO CLASS meet gravel-gargling vocals, but really what caught my attention were the surprisingly intricate bass lines and drumming, just enough to keep it interesting without being a flash bastard about it. All done in about ten minutes, keep ‘em wanting more.

Kronstadt Quai de l’Ouest LP

Lille punks KRONSTADT return for their second LP, bringing with them a more expansive, melodic sound and ambition along with them. Like their compatriots LITOVSK and SYNDROME 81 I suppose it is ostensibly Oi!-adjacent, but there’s a not insignificant dose of post-punk sheen on this release; a lot of the rough edges have been knocked off which is where, unfortunately, I find a lot of the charm. It’s perfectly good enough, serviceable punk but just slightly too polished for yours truly.

Violent Way All Talk EP

From the ashes of the ELITE emerges VIOLENT WAY, refreshed and renewed to give the world a kicking. Some classic meat and potatoes Oi! from these Buffalo upstarts, and if you are a real American Oi! fan you’ll love this; willing to bet a couple of quid that these fellas had FORCED REALITY and TEMPLARS written on their pencil case at school.

Contempt Reacción EP

Do bootboys get the blues? A question that has eluded cropheaded philosophers for millennia, and CONTEMPT is here to offer some evidence in favour. Eschewing traditional Oi! fare of good-time lager-soaked bonhomie or explicit threats of steel-toecap-to-skull interfacing, it’s a more nuanced, cerebral take on the genre. This is also reflected in the tunes, soaring guitars, and dare I even suggest it, metal influences, showing a broader horizon than your usual Oi! records. That being said, it does retain the sort of grit and menace you’d associate, and a decent sprinkling of actual “Oi!”s to placate old farts like myself.

Castillo Faded Memories 12″

I greet each new Mendeku Diskak with a fervour matched only by a kid knowing they’ve got a pair of Copa Mundials wrapped ‘neath the auld tannenbaum on Crimbo morn; they simply do not miss. This 12” from CASTILLO is another in a long list of belters. Another sensational project from Alex Zambrano, the mastermind behind COMBAT FORCE and REPEAT OFFENDER, dancing merrily between sheer lumpen heft and melodic riffs you can imagine a binman whistling. It’s got hints of the ROYAL HOUNDS, the vocals especially sounded like you’ve spilled their pint, as well as RIXE and MESS, too; it’s a stomper from start to finish. Please sir, I want some more.

Béton Armé Au Bord Du Gouffre EP

More great Oi! from the fine city of Montreal; not sure what they’re putting on their chips over there (cheese curds and gravy aside) but there’s been a steady stream of brilliant Oi! records which have been in near constant rotation for yours truly. It’s Oi! sung in French so certain parallels are naturally drawn with scene stalwarts RIXE, but I’d say this has more of a classic French feel, fans of the Chaos En France series will enjoy this thoroughly. And how fucking nice is it to hear some actual “Oi!”s in the chorus again? Fewer camo shorts and more “Oi!s” please, cheers.

Liberty and Justice Pressure LP

Streetrock ain’t dead! In their debut LP, Texan sorts LIBERTY AND JUSTICE have quietly released one of the records of the year. Taking inspiration from classic Oi! like the TEMPLARS and even the 4-SKINS, as well as dabbling in NEGATIVE APPROACH-style hardcore too, it’s actually a lot more expansive than your ten a penny plastic gangsters doing cosplay about the pub. Solidarity and anti-racism is the name of the game here, and collaborations with local ska/cumbia outfit LOS SKARNALES and Houston rapper FAT TONY are both highlights. Sledgehammer vocals and fist-in-the-air anthems all underwritten by a thunderous rhythm section, too. Completely took me by surprise, but undoubtedly a future genre classic.

Tchernobyl Consumé par le Feu EP

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! Another week and another cracker of a French-speaking Oi! record for me to tuck into, this time from the perennially great scène Parisienne. While the Anglophone world may be slacking, these upstarts have been adding their spin on that classic French sound everyone loves (unless you are a cloth-eared bastard). Both lumpen and leaden while simultaneously whipping along at decent pace, it’s a great little record, and doesn’t stay around long enough to offend either.

Dead Hero / Ultra Razzia split LP

Another split from Primator Crew, this time bringing Montreal scrappers ULTRA RAZZIA and Bogotán mob DEAD HERO together on wax for the first time. The former’s side of the split is characterised by their signature sparse but muscular take on Oi! More in common with some of their more hardcore contemporaries, but if LIONS LAW or BROMURE are your type of thing, you’ll find something to enjoy here. DEAD HERO’s side offers a more of a lighter touch, but is perhaps even more fun. It’s a real love letter to a type of punk many of us fell in love with first; it’s safety pins on a school blazer, think maybe VICE SQUAD out on the piss with COCK SPARRER and you’re in the right ballpark, ’77-in-’82 fun times for all.

Béton Armé / Ultra Razzia Demo 2018 / Demo 2017 split LP

Two of the hardest contemporary Québécois Oi! bands join forces for this split LP. Bringing together on wax both of their respective demo tapes and sprinkling them with a bit of studio remastering magique to give them a bit of brawn. BÉTON ARMÉ’s side of the split is in keeping with the fine tradition of francophone Oi! (sans saxophone), replete with buzzsaw guitars that if you told me had been transported directly from 1985, I’d believe you. ULTRA RAZZIA takes a slightly rougher, more punk-tinged approach, in keeping with more modern offerings like COUPE-GORGE or TRAITRE. It also includes a joyous French-language cover of BLITZ’s “Razors in the Night,” which is almost worth the cost alone.

Brux Guerra Mental cassette

Mate. In four short tracks, BRUX has created one of the releases of the year. Pairing PMS 84-style UK82 chaos in parts, with SYNDROME 81 skeletal post-punk and a hint of Second Empire Justice BLITZ overdriven claustrophobia in others. There’s also some good-time skinhead rock’n’roll baby, courtesy of a few taut RIXE-style bangers replete with swaggering riffs that the sainted LOBBY LOYDE would be proud to have in his tight, denim-clad back pocket. All tied together with some ferocious vocals that assault the senses like prime-era ARMS RACE. Belting.

The Chisel Enough Said flexi EP

If there’s one thing you can categorically say about the CHISEL, it’s that they have not been sat about with their collective thumbs up their arse over the past year. Onto their third release proper, and still yet to have an actual live gig, they are undoubtedly a prolific mob. Comprising various elements of CHUBBY AND THE GANG, ARMS RACE, and the LOWEST FORM, it’s a proper who’s who of UKHC. They are also, very clearly, pissed-off. Pissed-off at muggy little cunts, at racists, at the Murdoch press, at divide and rule. It seethes with righteous Lancastrian fury courtesy of Cal Graham’s vocals which are akin to a lump hammer to the side of the head. Their sound is beefier than previous releases too, certainly more in common with that classic OI! sound we all know and love, even going as far as to record on the same piano that “Plastic Gangsters” was, as I am reliably informed. Rounded off with a joyful cover of the BUSINESS’ “Harry May.” Six minutes of flexi fun. Up the Weetabix skins!

Pressure Pact Scared Off the Streets LP

PRESSURE PACT’s latest is a unrefined slab of Neanderthal primitive hardcore, taking in BOSTON STRANGLER and NEGATIVE FX-style hardcore and a hint of NABAT-style European Oi!, which grabs you by yer throat and refuses to let go. Unrefined, atavistic troglodyte hop for the close-cropped creepy-crawlers of the world. It’s claustrophobic and violent, with drums being beaten as if they owe someone money. If you want complexity, read a book. If you want your head smashed in by some absolutely belting hardcore then give this a go.

V/A Kaosa Euskal Herrian 2xLP

Taking inspiration from the classique Chaos En France series, this compilation of some of the leading lights in the incredibly healthy Basque Oi! and punk scene is a genuine joy to explore. Sung mostly in Euskara with a few potted exceptions, it’s a truly unique document of a clearly vibrant and overlooked community. Some of the names such as CUERO and REVERTT may be familiar to those of you who, like me, think the sun shines out of the fantastic Mendeku Diskak’s arse, but perhaps the most rewarding part is uncovering some of the lesser-known bands, too. BLESSURE has the speed and sneer of RIXE, whereas TEARS & BEERS can craft an ale-spilling chorus to rival BATTLE RUINS any day of the week. It’s not all boots and braces for any of you long-haired scruffs out there, though; GADAFISTE BROTHERS are pure bubblegum RAMONES-worship power pop as well. Extremely worth your time!

Mess Intercity 12”

If you like BLITZ (which you fucking well better had like), you’ll like this, simple as, end of. No pissing about, it’s about as perfect a slice of UK82 skiiiiinhead rock’n’roll as you are likely to find. Anthemic, euphoric, and bleach-stained as they come, could have easily booted its way onto a No Future release. One that will be in heavy rotation chez yours truly for the foreseeable future.

Cuero Cabezabota 12″

More Basque brutality from the boys from Bilbao. Four tracks of blackened Oi! with bile-curdling vocals, as tough as the leather from which they take their name and hard as Bizkaian iron. Pounding drums and robust industrial riffs are a solid chassis on which to build this twelve minutes of fury. Will make you want to kick down buildings.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes, Volume 2 LP reissue

Another musical dose of twelve-hole Doc Martens shoe leather up the hoop for those of us who never stopped fighting Maggie Thatcher. The follow-up to the much-beloved first volume in the series is actually an improvement, should you dare to believe it. The untouchable CRIMINAL DAMAGE’s “Criminal Crew” is a perfect slice of rowdy bovver, ON PAROLE offers some choppy Hiberian aggro, and Cwmbran legends IMPACT’s “Storm Trooper Tactics” is a taut and frantic polemic against the follies of joining the army. Really does not come highly recommended enough, save up your pocket money for this one.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes LP reissue

Reissue of one of the seminal UK82 compilations; time to dust off the donkey jacket and the “Coal Not Dole” badge. Some of these names will inevitably be known to you, having been scrawled onto school books and pencil cases since time immemorial, but this compilation assembles some of the lesser-celebrated names of the UK scene, too. It’s an uneasy truce between skins, punks, and their scruffier anarcho cousins to dizzying effect. DISTORTION, CRUX, and the VIOLATORS are the stars of the show for this installment; a great document of the time and some real gems uncovered.

Ultra-Violent Crime…For…Revenge EP reissue

Perhaps the definitive UK82 release, a final effort before disbanding and setting off on their merry (separate) ways; this is three tracks of buzzsaw guitar ferocity, larynx-shredding vocals from Ade Bailey, and drums that sound like an air raid. Tight, furious and no pissing about. Get your boots and your bally on, it’s a classic for a reason.

Vis Vires The Fight Goes On LP

Never personally understood the fascination with some skins in pretending to be a Viking warrior (it was shit, lads! You couldn’t even get Wi-Fi or a decent lamb tikka bhuna!), and this record is unlikely to convince me, really. From its opening salvo of audio library sword-clashing, to its tough-guy vocals singing of victory, pride, and storms, it’s a quaintly macho record, more in common with MANOWAR than its Oi! labelling, all IRON MAIDEN wailing guitars and not enough grit. If you liked that BATTLE RUINS record, or think you’re from eighth-century Uppåkra, this may be for you.

The Templars Reconquista Volume II LP

Another root around in the catacombs for the TEMPLARS with the second volume of their Reconquista series. Taking in various odds and ends from their storied career to date, including a lot of early stuff that has been out of print for a minute, so definitely one for completists and obsessives. A handful of covers including a relatively played-straight version of a ROLLING STONES number add a bit of light and shade to the proceedings too, but realistically one for the megafans.

The Templars Clockwork Orange Horror Show 12″ reissue

Viddy this me droogies, everyone’s favourite ecclesiastical skinhead rockers are back with another reissue of their 1995 EP. This particular release waltzes along the well-ploughed furrow of fascination with A Clockwork Orange, and it’s all you’ve come to expect from a TEMPLARS release, really: flanger turned up to the max, sandpaper-gruff vocals, and short but sweet tunes about being a naughty boy and having a ruck. Two covers of MAJOR ACCIDENT and ANGELIC UPSTARTS give an indication as to the influences. Worth a go if you don’t already own a copy.

The Adicts Smart Alex LP reissue

Another ADICTS reissue from Puke n Vomit, this time their 1985 LP Smart Alex. This LP marks a bit of a turning point for Monkey and the lads, as they began to sand off some of the rougher edges and incorporate more new wave elements. Unfortunately, along with those rougher edges, they lost a lot of their charm, and this album feels a bit pointless and anaemic rather than anthemic. A lot of plodding MOR nonsense makes up the filler on this album which really drags in parts. Not a particularly stand-out record by any stretch, and I would suggest broadly for completists only.

The Adicts The Sound of Music LP reissue

The clown princes of clockwork punx are back…in reissue form! For the longest time, I actively avoided engaging with any of these droogy bands for the simple reason that the fans got on my tits to an almost cosmic degree—crystalised by one legendarily punishing pisshead at a COCK SPARRER show in Leeds, replete with plastic bowler hat and jockstrap. I, quite naturally, assumed it was annoying joke music for dickheads. Was I wrong in that assumption? To a certain extent, yes. While there is space for some joke music on The Sound of Music with a paean to Chinese takeaways, it’s an enjoyable camp romp through the poppier side of UK82, like the BLOOD and PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES had a scrap in a circus tent.

Newtown Neurotics Kick Out! LP

In the years immediately following World War II, Clement Attlee’s Labour government passed the New Towns Act 1946. It was emblematic of the Attlee ministry, typified by a series of post-war rebuilding projects including the establishment of the welfare state and the nationalisation of large swathes of industry. One of these post-war “new towns” was Harlow, home of the NEWTOWN NEUROTICS. It’s perhaps the perfect place for a band like them to be from; a living monument to the last great socialist government projects, now left to rot by a Thatcherite systematic dismantling of society. This compilation contains NEWTOWN NEUROTICS’ first six singles, and tracks their movement from bop-along ’77 acolytes to the nakedly political polemicists they became. Steve Drewett’s BILLY BRAGG-esque syllabic contortions are the perfect vehicle for his three-minute manifestos railing against the injustices of the increasingly fascist society in which he found himself. Stand out tracks like “Kick Out The Tories” and “Fools” still remain sadly relevant and resonant, but it’s the version of “Mindless Violence / Andy Is a Corporatist” with ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER from the Son of Oi! comp which stays with you. The follies of being a far-right skin, and one perhaps for all the silly boys at the shows wearing their naughty merch thinking they’re a big man. An utterly vital record.

Bullshit Detectör Bullshit cassette EP

A total lack of any frills, bells or whistles from these Texan Oi! types on this three track EP. Stripped back to the literal bare essentials, and then some more, BULLSHIT DETECTÖR takes an incredibly minimalist approach to their songwriting, clearly seeing anything more than three chords and shouting as petit bourgeois decadence; a viewpoint to which I have some sympathy. Larynx-lacerating vocals put me in mind of that CRIMINAL tape from a couple of years ago, and at fewer than seven minutes in length it doesn’t stick about long enough to get tiresome. That said though, if anyone can prove that any of the three songs included on this EP are different from each other in any demonstrable way, they’ve earned my respect and a firm handshake from yours truly because I certainly can’t tell the difference between any of them.

Barry Rolfe Look the Business / Molly Molly 7″

Tough-as-yer-like hobnail boot glam rock stomper from Baz on the A side here; I have a real fondness for this type of proto-punk bovver boy throwaway rubbish from this era, all pomp and bluster and latent menace. A paean to being a top dresser from a time when any kicking you’d receive on the terraces was likely to be administered by someone with a feather cut and bellbottoms. Scuzzy, mean and very silly. The B-side is a slightly different tempo, a slinky and saucy number replete with slide guitar, to suit the lyrical content; the joys of getting your leg over.

Nabat 1981 Laida Bologna Demo LP

This is the real stuff. At a time when a significant strain of European Oi! is milquetoast panto shite made by scruffy chancers in trainers, it’s nice to be reminded of what made it so exhilarating. This recently-rediscovered demo from 1981 represents some of the earliest recordings of the legendary Italian band and it’s truly great. It’s NABAT at their rawest, route one, kick-you-in-the-bollocks punk. Short, sharp and to the point like a jab to the kidneys; it’s the scuzzy and antisocial Oi! we all have come to love, all while they are seemingly having a complete laugh with their mates while doing so. A belter.

The Clinch Basecamp LP

Melbourne streetpunk/Oi! types the CLINCH return with an album full of pint-spilling, get-yer-mate-in-a-headlock-at-last-orders anthems which completely took me by surprise. It has all the hallmarks of a classic album of the genre replete with full-throated gang vocal choruses and soaring no-nonsense riffs that touch upon ROSE TATTOO or COLOURED BALLS at their rock’n’rolliest in parts. So far, so streetpunk. However beneath this beer-battered exterior lay some unexpectedly nuanced and thoughtful lyrics, far far beyond the usual fare for your garden variety streetpunk. Stand out track “Basecamp” has a chorus that is so catchy I’ll end up humming it for years to come. Well worth a spin, good on ya lads.

Force Majeure Encore Debout EP

More brickwall francophone Oi! from LAST CRUSADE and ULTRA RAZZIA alumni, this latest FORCE MAJEURE offering continues their celebratory blend of the classic French Oi! sound with TEMPLARS-style good time skinhead rock’n’roll. Stripped back of frills like a cutdown Lambretta, it still provides all the fun of the fair that one would come to expect. Fans of REICH ORGASM and NABAT will have a lot to enjoy here, as I did.

Off the Clock For You 12″

Another release from the fertile and verdant Vic City Skins mob, and with members who’ve done time with big hitters such as NO HEART and LAST CRUSADE among its ranks, there’s little surprise that OFF THE CLOCK deliver some classic hard-as-nails Oi! with hardcore influences that packs a steel toe cap kick to the knackers. Vocals are as rough as a badger’s arse, but just about stay on the right side of tolerability, and the riffs are as no-nonsense as they come. Music to have a pint spilled on you to.

Zone Infinie Dégats EP

Saint-Étienne-based rock urbain outfit ZONE INFINIE is back with a new EP of soaring melodic streetpunk. Like their contemporaries SYNDROME 81 and LITOVSK, their post-punk flourishes temper the gruffness one normally associates with the scruffy bastards in streetpunk, and these nuances only help to add some light and shade to the proceedings. It’s a pleasantly mixed bag, especially for a genre that can lend itself to one-notedness too, with cacophonous drums and spartan guitarlines accompanying the more recognisably streetpunky vocals too. Worth a go.

Denim Ski Mask Justice EP

Wallop! This demo from a duo of Austrian recalcitrants ticks a lot of boxes for me—namely, it’s short, sharp and almost entirely lacks any fucking about whatsoever. Raw enough to cause salmonella, this is hard-as-nails Oi! stripped back to its component parts. Full of menace and the threat of aggro kicking off at any point, barely concealed within three songs that say all they need to in fewer than two minutes. Listen to this! You have been warned.

Lion’s Law The Pain, The Blood, and The Sword LP

The latest full-length from Parisien Oi! stalwarts LION’S LAW; the venerable Wattie at the helm as is de rigueur for most contemporary French skinhead bands worth their sel, and backed by a motley crew of skins and punks they serve up a thoroughly modern take on Oi! Dabbling as much in E-TOWN CONCRETE style hardcore as it does KOMINTERN SECT style oi! traditionnel, it’s varied enough to stop it being one note as so many releases can be these days. Vocals in both English and French are reminiscent of MOTÖRHEAD in parts, a suitably gruff accompaniment to the rugged riffs ’n’ rhythm underpinning the whole thing. Decent stuff.

The Young Ones Cream of the Crop LP

Alas, not a posthumous release from Rik Mayall (more’s the pity!), this is instead a Dutch outfit seemingly attempting to revive the “glory days” of Oi and breathe life into the sort of dated shite beloved of the haunted ghouls still going to Rebellion Festival in 2020. It sounds like bad COCKNEY REJECTS karaoke, retreading some already very well-trodden tracks. Hoxton Tom didn’t wear trainers mate.

Fuerza Bruta Verdugo CD reissue

I don’t know about you lot, but I, for one, am sick to bastard death of this trend of anaemic pop punk dressed in a cheapo relco button-down, creases from the packet still visible, being passed off as skinhead music just because the lyrics mention “the pub.” Thankfully, there are bands like FUERZA BRUTA kicking the teeth out of establishment with their unique blend of back to basics hardcore-tinged (proper) Oi. Blunt-force riffs, furious vocals, all underwritten by a rhythm section as tight as properly-laced derby boot. Vital stuff.

Savage Beat Trench Warfare EP reissue

The Deadly Dutchmen SAVAGE BEAT are back with a reissue (including two added tracks) of their debut 12” of extremely fun bootboy rock’n’roll. Reminiscent in parts of ROSE TATTOO or turbo-charged SLADE, all with a glam stomp running through the middle of this record like a stick of Blackpool rock. Daft yobbo music for people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Bromure / Squelette Aux Bon Amis split EP

Two of the finest contemporary Oi! bands from la Ville Lumière join forces for this split EP. There’s some real firepower behind these two, consisting of various members of the formidable Bastille Skinhead Crew as well as RIXE, LIONS LAW and MARABOOTS between them. SQUELETTE’s side presents a more rough ’n’ ready approach to Oi!, with fists-in-the-air gang vocals and pleasantly lumpen riffs; whereas as soon as BROMURE’s tracks start we get the reassuringly gallic saxophone lick, and are treated to some fine Oi! in the vein of CAMERA SILENS or WARRIOR KIDS. Great stuff.

The Elite Reason for My Sin EP

Debut outing from this new Buffalo trio, which starts promisingly with a BLITZ-esque riff but soon devolves into some bog-standard Oi!-tinged hardcore. It does whip along at a rate of some knots and there’s enough of a germ at the centre to suggest they might do something decent in the future. Fans of the BRASS and NO TIME may find something to like in this short EP, but sadly likely to be the last time I think about it.

Faz Waltz Rebel Kicks LP

I don’t know what’s in the water in Italy, but they’ve been responsible for some of the finest cuts of pure bovver glam in the vein of peak-era SWEET (R.I.P. Steve Priest) or T. REX in recent memory. Like fellow compatriots GIUDA, FAZ WALTZ are of the particular school of thought that music peaked in about 1974, clearly worship at the altar of His Sainted Majesty Noddy Holder, and wholeheartedly believe that too much thinking gets in the way of having a good time; and this could not be more evident in their latest effort. Eleven tracks of defiant, hip-swingin’, foot-stompin’ glitter boogie aimed squarely at your pleasure centres. Do yourself a favour, put on your best clobber, switch off your brain and have a good old mirror strut for the next half hour or so. You won’t regret it.

Lebel Passe à l’Assaut! EP

FrancOi!phone rage from Montreal. Rough and raw, but with skeletal basslines that don’t sound dissimilar to the spartan noise of Lille’s TRAITRE or Brest’s SYNDROME 81 in parts. Short and to the point, like a proper haircut, and at under a tight ten minutes it doesn’t outlast its welcome either. Just the right side of unpolished, too. Worth your time.

Rough Cuts Nobody’s Fool LP

Sadly, not the latter-era SLADE ripper, Nobody’s Fool is instead the debut from Torontonian outfit ROUGH CUTS which delivers BISHOP’S GREEN and DROPKICK MURPHYS-esque street punk devoid of any real grit or menace. Admittedly, there are a few tracks to which you can bounce along in your adidas sambas and camo shorts should you be one of these modern Oi! types, and they seem to have their head broadly screwed on (small r) right politically-speaking, but some of the lyrics fit about as well as a new pair of 8-hole Docs and the vocals sound like a cartoon bullfrog. Not only this, but one of the riffs is lifted directly from GREEN DAY and they commit the cardinal sin of writing a punk song about an MLS team. Perfectly serviceable, but not essential.

The Chisel Deconstructive Surgery EP

Here we, Here we, Here we fucking go; the CHISEL boys are here to kick your head in and neck your pint while doing so. Lightning fast, convulsing with an anger that only growing up in Blackpool can give you, this blistering EP stomps from track to track with a palpable sense of malice and righteous fury. Class warfare, the sad decline of the seaside town and the great British tradition of a pint and a fight are all covered, and backed with thunderous drums, hefty bass and riotous guitars. One of the best of the year so far.

Lvger Fvll Villain LP

Have you ever wondered what it’d sound like if HIGH ON FIRE’s Matt Pike decided to stop dicking about and get into full MOTÖRHEAD worship instead? Me neither, and as it turns out it’s a question that probably should remain unanswered; in the ether. LVGER’s debut full-length only clocks in at six songs but feels about six years; with several tracks pushing an agonising four minutes in length, the sheer lack of urgency or any self-control really begins to drag at stages. While the riffs are undoubtedly robust, there’s more than a little of the bootcut jean about this record and it’s hard to ignore. Not for me.

V/A Oi! L’Album Volume 2 LP

Libertoi, égalioi, fraternitoi! Nearly ten years after the first installment, Nantes-based label Une Vie Pour Rien has put out a second course of delicious Oi morsels from the francophone world. Absolutely zero fucking about here, as the first track from parisian stalwarts BROMURE is straight in with the saxophone, because is it really French Oi without it? Stand-out tunes from ULTRA RAZZIA, BOGAN, COUPE-GORGE, follow and if you like your riffs hard as nails, your vocals gruff and your saxophone inexplicably present then this is the comp for you. Marchons! Marchons!

The Templars 1118-1312 LP

Grab yer Beauséant and yer cuirass, it’s only the bleedin’ TEMPLARS! The Lords of the Sword, for it is they, are back in reissue form. Pressing one of their finest cuts to 12”, half a dozen gruff skinhead rock’n’rollers from the mean streets of Long Island. At this stage, if you’re not on board with the TEMPLARS, this reissue is unlikely to change your mind, but who needs you anyway then, mate? “Skins & Punks” is an obvious highlight, as are some of the more tuneful numbers toward the end of Side B, but nothing sticks around too long as to become boring (anything more than twelve tracks is prog, lads). One for completists sure, but if you haven’t already heard this, you’d be well-advised to part with some hard-earned cash for it.

Traitre Discographie LP+EP

Lille’s TRAITRE, on face value, seems to plough a well-trodden furrow in the field of Oi!: a heady mix of rough ‘n’ ready NABAT-style riffs and gang vocal “woah-ohs” in the vein of their compatriots, the venerable WARRIOR KIDS and REICH ORGASM. There is, however, a certain melancholy that beats at the heart of this record, and almost touches upon Second Empire Justice-era BLITZ territory at points. Ennui and anger pulse throughout this record. Existential Oi! for the thinking skinhead; even boot boys get the blues. Well worth a spin.

Bent Out of Shape Demo 2020 CD

First release from this streetpunk outfit hailing from the Netherlands, and with any luck it will be their last. Workmanlike riffs twinned with anaemic attempts at barked vocals, laced with a series of increasingly cringe-inducing film quotes; so far so modern streetpunk. Vague and indirect small “p” political lyrics railing against authority and lying politicians, not to mention the prerequisite football tune, and it’s nothing we haven’t heard one thousand times before. One to miss.

No Class Don’t You Worry About Us! EP

About as subtle as a cricket bat to the bollocks, Footscray’s finest are back with a four-pack of beer-soaked bootboy bangers, hairy-arsed rock’n’roll and glam stompers. Opener “1981” comes across as a snottier ROSE TATTOO, swiftly followed by “Don’t You Worry About Us,” a defiant arms-’round-the-shoulder anthem reminiscent of an antipodean FACES with its knees up piano accompaniment. With “Knuckle Dragger” we have a revved up ’77 rocker channeling the sneer of COCKNEY REJECTS albeit at twice the speed, leading into “Every Now And Then” which is total “Runnin’ Riot”-era COCK SPARRER rip-off territory and there’s no higher compliment. Fans of “having a laugh with your mates” will not be disappointed.