UK Subs – XXIV/Yellow Leader
Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records
Release date: 27/05/2022 and 08/07/2022
Running time: 38 mins and 52 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
9/10 and 8.5/10
Recap time: regular readers may remember that yours truly recently reviewed the re-issue of “Work in Progress” by punk veterans UK Subs. You may also recall that that album covered the letter W in the bands ongoing mission to release an album for every letter of the alphabet. Well, the good news is that Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records are also releasing the next two instalments in the series – that’s the letters X and Y (but you knew that).
Working through chronologically, we have “XXIV” – which the lovely record company peeps have released on drool-worthy double 10” vinyl, one green, one clear. Yummy. Our first song is an absolute belter: the full-on turbo romp ‘Implosion 77’. Hold on tight and buckle up! There’s plenty more fast’n’nasty thrills on offer too: ‘Speed’ has a merciless UK82 vibe; ‘Monkeys’ has a classic Subs singalong chorus; ‘Garden of Good & Evil’ is another pogo-till-your-pants-fall-off rocker.
There’s some well-placed variety too, with the harmonica adorned political thrust of ‘Coalition Government Blues’; and Bo Diddley swagger of ‘Wreckin’ Ball’ – both showing hints of the bands R’n’B origins (like as in, what R’n’B used to be). Lyrically there are plenty of targets for Charlie to attack, both politically and socially. ‘Memento Mori’ finishes the album off with one most aggressive tunes on offer, leaving us with a great album of 14 adrenaline infused songs.
“Yellow Leader” follows in a similar fashion, featuring 18 songs (whereas the original vinyl was cut to just 14 due to running times). To be released on slinky, divine double 10” vinyl (one red, one turquoise here), it’ll be a feast for the eyes and ears. Again, the album is crammed with more relentless punk rock shenanigans like ‘Sick Velveteen’, ‘Chemical’ and ‘Heathens’, all of which will have you jumping around the room like a monkey on a lava stream.
As the previous record, there’s plenty of other sounds and ideas here: single ‘Sin City Blues’ has a killer rockabilly feel; and ‘Rebellion Song’ breaks out the acoustic guitar. The only mis-step is ‘Archaeology’, a strange post -punk/goth style experiment that while not awful, isn’t a total success. All in all, the quality of music is impressively high and the recordings sound excellent.
And there you go, music lovers: not one, but TWO albums of mighty UK Subs songs, lovingly compiled and curated by those nice folks at Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records. You lucky people. Pick ‘em up while you can, nobody is this fortunate twice.
This review is a joint presentation from Ever Metal and Platinum Al.