UK Subs – Work in Progress
Cherry Red Records
Release date: 22/04/2022
Running time: 41 minutes
Review by: Alun Jones
Ladies and gentlemen: the UK Subs. A fine collective of upstanding, noble samurai and no mistake. Led by the indomitable Charlie Harper, the band have roots stretching right back to the origin of the London punk scene (and actually, a fair bit further than that). The band are still touring and recording all this time later, albeit with changing line ups throughout the years, so their integrity and passion should never be in any doubt.
Casual observers may not be aware that the UK Subs have released an album for every letter of the alphabet (plus more). That’s no mean feat. What is somewhat daunting, is that’s a lot for any new fans who want to collect everyone of those releases! Yet fear not, music lovers: Cherry Red records have been gracious enough to re-release the 2011 album “Work in Progress”, on sexy double 10” gold and silver vinyl. For anyone struggling to keep up, that means the punters have no excuse to at least have the letter W from the list in the bag.
And what will discerning music fans find within this sumptuous collection? Why, fourteen songs of the finest punk rock vintage, of course. That means a blitzkrieg of blinding rockers like ‘Creation’, ‘Radio Unfriendly’ and the brilliantly titled ‘Hell is Other People’. Some bloke called Lars Frederickson, from a band called Rancid, co-wrote ‘This Chaos’ – another brain melter – and you can even bang your head to ‘Children of the Flood’, if you want to.
Punk rock unbelievers, I say unto thee: these songs do not all sound the same. They are not simply constructed, amateur-hour noise. All the tracks are full of energy and have their own identity. There’s a hint of rockabilly on ‘Eighteen Wheels’, R&B garage rock on the bouncy Sonics cover ‘Strychnine’ and ‘All Blurs into One’ has an almost psychedelic sheen.
The only potential misfires are ‘Tokyo Rose’, which at first sounds a bit too Hollywood Sunset Strip (but redeems itself after a few listens) and ‘Rock’n’Roll Whore’, which could be a bit – well, dated lyrically.
This UK Subs album admirably highlights a classic band who are still fighting on, taking their music to the world. It shows the roots of the band in R&B, whilst also providing a link from the Ramones to US hardcore bands like Circle Jerks and Descendents, and ever onwards. After all these years, the UK Subs are still a “Work in Progress” and show no signs of stopping.
Right, see you later. I’m off to hang around in a graveyard with my old mate Dave Vanian. Captain and Rat, you can only come if you promise to stop setting fire to mattresses.
This review is a joint presentation from Ever Metal and Platinum Al.