On name alone a very punk sounding treat seems in store and when viewed it is indeed just that but more prone to appeal to the fanatic of earlier US style punk that still retained a touch of glam and came across as slightly unrefined and misshapen.  The first track in fact could quite easily be heard as a background noise in a seedy American bar during a one on one TV interview that discussed the technicalities and appeal of pre-76 US punk.  It flows and drawls and is a pleasing start to the CD and is quickly followed by a track which is in the same vain but paradoxically deals with the obscure subject matter of TV’s pompous fat bastard John McCrirrick.  Truly a bizarre moment and one that makes me wonder if we are dealing with a brigade of musical maestros or a bunch of unsettled, deviant noodles?  Either way it works so nuff said!

The title of the next ditty, namely, ‘3 Skins’ seems promising of an outburst of good old English OI but again the preconceived mould is shattered with a rocking, bluesy cum US highway sound that again does the business.  ‘Punk Rock Soul’ has a harder opening than its predecessors but for me the vocals are too low and too discordant resulting in an unworkable waywardness.  Shame because the fundamental core to a good tune was there.  The last track again fails due to it being of a muffled and unclear nature that needed a little bit more attention during production.

Not bad though generally with the first 3 tracks very pleasing and retro in sound that I am sure will appeal to the knowledgeable punk.  I suspect live we have another good band here with a real toe-tapping treat in store and with more attention to detail the next CD release will only reach better heights.



A 6 track DIY CD in a cut and paste cover that reflects where this band are coming from.  The black and white artwork is bleak, sinister and effective in equal proportions as are the musical offerings from an outfit whose sounds seem borne of post apocalyptic industrialisation where melodies are thrashed out beneath a backdrop of dust filed skies and burnt out skeletal factories.  This CD can seem a trifle basic but there is a poetical futurism here that gives a unique, final sound with its own personal messages.  Disaffectation, social flaws, insecurity, selfishness, political propaganda and brainwashing – all included and highlighting a conscience as well as a craft.

The CD opens up with the excellent ‘Outside The Circle’ which for me is the pick of the crop and in some ways considered a bit of a Faux Pas having the best track first.  Nevertheless it’s a cracker and followed by another great song, namely the title track ‘Welcome To The 21st Century’.  Despite the sobered lyrics there is still a defiant and promising tone that works well in all aspects.  The remaining quartet all maintain the consistency with the set theme with ‘Tall Trees’ and ‘Antimate’ very reminiscent to some early Killing Joke and with the latter having some particularly nice rough and untampered guitar solos.  The finale of ‘He’s Gonna Be A Real Man’ is more in the typical punk role with a forthright and relentless approach that rounds off a CD that is definitely worth a try by anyone looking for a band who have an individuality and offer a raw edged noise.



As expected a real crust 'n' rust affair here with emphasis on political ravings, fuzzed up bass and guitars and resonant and raw drum rhythms to boot. Its a bread and butter DIY effort that vomits forth a defiance that so typifies this sub-genre. Fans of the Subhumans, Conflict, Crass, Flux etc. will love it but others will have to make up their own minds. 'Smash The Box' is a decent and decadent opener and has enough fuel in the tank to get through and into the above average 'Scream At The World' which is the best track of the CD. Nice intro, snarling vocals and a solid rhythm and anger throughout plus a solid chorus and its a good do indeed. 'Brain Decay' and 'Daily Lies' continue to fuel the flames of disobedience and disgruntlement with 'Fight/Resist' ending a CD that improves with a few listenings and a little patience. The 5 tracks on this debut outing display a band with potential but whether that potential is going to be continually blighted by sub-standard productions remains to be seen. There are cracking moments here but the lack of clarity suffocates them all too easily. This is worth a listen but next time (especially knowing the drummer and his top punk rock knowledge, one Dudley Dave Cox) I expect a good deal more. For a first effort though not bad at all.



6 tracks of a very adequate standard here with a clarity of sound, a nice delivery of lyric and an all round consistency that do The Mispelt a fair level of credit.  It is more than obvious that this trio are well versed in their chosen genre and are quite happy playing punk of a more melodic nature.  The structure of each song may be, in parts, a touch repetitive over a longer CD and a trifle too basic for some, but the unfussy approach and simplistic yet effective guitar riffs are what make this offering and give it a personal edge so many bands fail to achieve and maintain.

In truth the CD just grows and grows within the psyche and each and every listen adds to its charm and joy.  My daughter (aged 9) loves it and within a week learned the entire lyrical content and sang along to every catchy ditty - now that says something!

Personally I can’t pick out a bad track and ‘Parasite’ and ‘Trisha TV’ stand out with the quite excellent ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’  the best and a real positive way to end a good CD.  Sometimes by just hearing music by a band you know that when you see them live you are in for a grand do - the feeling is here - I hope I won’t be disappointed - I expect not.



Hailing from Manchester this quartet of young upstarts bring forth a powerhouse guitar racket of the highest order and have a live show that left me goggle eyed and with a low slung jaw.  Practised and meticulous the essence of hard rock and spunk fuelled rage is embraced and churned out with an industrious and artistic belief second to none on the local scene.  In fact The Shadowcops are really turning heads at the moment and hence my anticipation of this 5 track creation.

The opening subdued guitar riff is transient in the extreme before track 1, 'Nasty Little Bureaucrat' explodes into a cacophony of highly elaborate melodies and punked up vibes of impressive volume.  No sooner as the track started than it’s done and swiftly into the remarkable and well executed 'Green Light'.   An abundance of energy, a superfluity of u-turns, gear shifts and general motorised revolutions and the track careers along in relentless and focused style knocking over the fumbling pedestrianised Alice Cooper along the way.

'My My, My Personal Ennui' opens with a disjointed drum beat and at last the pace is slackened before quickly becoming deliberate and infected with the screaming disease the Shadowcops spread so well.  In fact when these boys yell in unison it really does hit the point of pure raucousness that gives the band its sound and overall identity.  Next 'An Unwelcome Guest' which again has a drum solo start before a lot of busy guitar work and stopping and starting really makes a hash of the opening sequence and thus results in the weakest track on the CD.  There is a brief high when the lads get something of a chorus in there but again the track derails and although there is a superb mixture of sounds each one remains separate and really doesn’t gel with its predecessor therefore resulting in a wasteful use of quality stuff.

Nevertheless the CD overcomes this temporary blip and gets back on the 200mph track and hurtles home with 'A Great Deal More...' which is a more deliberate and well organised outpouring that leaves the listener impressed.

A class offering and still I feel more to come and room for improvement.  My fear is that The Shadowcops may become carried away by their obvious skill and lose something of the musical integrity that can make a song work hence the view on track four which is still an adequate effort but could have been so much the better.

Having said that don’t be of any doubt that this is a real solid outfit that have still to depress me and on this evidence it may be some time before I witness a poor showing.  A challenge and a joy to review just like the live shows – go see em’ now – its enough to make the old bones shake.



A right little poser here as slick, smooth ska gets a dose of Oi cum snarling streetpunk and is dished out by a band with a bizarre name and obvious lunatic element.

The urgency, diversity and DIY quality production make this a fave of mine and overall I feel a spirit that my be not borne of angst but is definitely infectious.

'Kill Snitcho' opens and is a real 'live' starter and I presume if delivered as is here must really get the crowd a-bopping. 'Crackdown, combines 'jig 'n' swig' ska with rough house tempo's and incorporates a reet good retro chorus to please all. 'Ready Made Rips' is a good pleasurable onslaught and 'Dead Man' follows with an almost wayward delivery but manages to stay on line and be a decent track. 'Self Destruct' borders on the messy at times and dips in and out of what is deemed coherent but again is still an adequate offering. 'The finale of 'Blood Money' is OK but way too weak to finish what I think is a good CD. Also the slow saxo-moments are done superbly and pose the question whether this 6 tracker needed a more sedate purist ska-style ditty in the middle.

Overall not bad and a band to check out and for me seem a darn good bunch who are guaranteed to entertain. Keep ska-punking chaps.



One of the best CD’s of the year!  Well why not?  A bold opening statement but well and truly deserved as this is a real choice offering of the highest order.  In all the CD’s I review its hard to find many seriously bad ones thus proving the punk scene is thriving as far as talent goes and the competition is stiffer than a bishops dick dipped in Endros (readers of 70’s porn will know the score).  Anyway here we have a real prize boner and it really does give ones lugholes a shafting.

The impact of the opening track, namely ‘Burn’ is immense and reflects a real cut and thrust drive that is rammed to the rafters with unwavering exuberance and fantastic punk stamina.  Truly one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard for a long time and a rival to the other CD high of this year, namely Riot Squads offering of unleashed angst.  ‘Daily Grind’ follows next and again the quality is supreme and it is already glaringly evident that we are dealing with a quite exceptional band here and one that must really do some serious damage to the scene in general and wake up a few idlers to the fact that the new bands are indeed in general classy, hungry and very fuckin’ talented. 

Track after track exudes a solid ambience and awe inspiring racket rarely heard for such long periods and with a screaming banshee at the helm the potential knows no bounds.  In fact let me once again be a trifle bold and say that surely we have one of the best punk female vocalists of all time here as far as this recorded evidence goes.  That’s how impressed I am!  Imagine Poly Styrene, Pauline Murray and Liz Rose all combined but left to rampage in a raw and ready frenzy and there you have the essence of what is vomited forth here.  Astounding!

Back to the CD and what can I say – quality.  ‘Push’ is the catchy one and the other really outstanding gem is ‘Christina’ which is structured and delivered quite beautifully with vitality and emotion in equal, impressive measure.

I love it, I love it, love it and moments like this really back up my argument that an abundance of bands who are tagged the new brigade and are thus overlooked would piss all over the old favourites if time would have been a tad more generous.  But never mind – this CD is here and now and for me its fuel to the flames of punks future.   Let the asses of the apathetic burn long and hard and if you miss this then go jump on the fire too – because in truth punk don’t need you!



Still in their embryonic stage the Bullet Kings here have ejaculated an initial offering of speed and melody with a punk ‘n’ pogo spirit much lacking in bands of lesser years.   The songs are delivered with an urgency and belief that is backed up with some all round good musicianship that speaks volumes for a talented punk scene.  ‘Riot’ is old school aggression with an un-original title rejuvenated and given a song worthy of its name.  The first recording on CD of any band can say so much and this brashly states that this band means business.  The second and third tracks, namely ‘Words’ and ‘Private Death’ respectively are much more crafted affairs with excellent rhythms throughout backed by catchy choruses and some skip and rip drum work.  The finale of ‘Violence in the City’ is an amalgamation of various punk genre’s with the most obvious being some unadulterated streetpunk superbly blended with Crass-ite vocals (remember Pete Wright) that works a treat.  For 4 tracks of classical punk then this is a must and promises much for this fine, new band.



Wow – can this be true?  Is it me or is the punk scene just getting better and better?  More and more CD’s I review these days are loaded with quality and outstrip numerous predecessors in this saturated genre.  Band after band are coming up trumps with classy CD’s and for me I really do feel for anyone trying to gain a foothold and make a name for themselves.  As a reviewer it’s just ideal because rather that drown in a pile of flyblown shite I can stay buoyant on the waves of some red-hot punk.

Enough waffling and to the CD.  Well the opening riff hits home in attention grabbing style with a Pistol-esque noise commencing one hell of a track.  ‘To follow your leader is a dangerous game’ opens the lyrical output of a track that is a forthright winner through and through with excellent vocals and backing all the way.  ‘This Country ‘ is quite an exceptional track and worthy of future compilations everywhere.  Next ‘TCB’ which again seems to know where the finish line is and just gets its head down and fuckin’ hammers home.  Solid as a fuckin’ rock.

The last two tracks follow with equal tempo and zest and really give reflections of a unit borne from the early 80’s when punks flickering candle was briefly re-ignited with passion and belief.  This statement is meant as a compliment because in 30 odd years of punking I really am struggling to pick out an era when FTR couldn’t hold their own.

To all readers of this review and almost as in the words of the third track ‘Wake up and seize the CD’.  Honestly you won’t regret it!



I hate AFS!  They are the biggest bunch of wasters I could ever think of.  Their attitude stinks, they can't play a note and they all smell of brontosaurus poo.  And, worst of all they keep releasing records that I personally think are great and can't help but gush over when writing a review.  This makes me look a right bottom licking 'erbert who is after kipping with a couple of the members for no other reason than deviant desires.  Well I am straight, I don't fancy any of the band and I am going to rubbish them as best I can with the forthcoming assessment.  Well forget the last one because...the darn tinkers have produced their best stuff to date and asked yours truly to do the analysing duties.  The swines, the dirty rotten swines - ooooh how I hate them for this.  Calm down Fungal, calm down.  Deep breaths, pen to paper - and here we go...
This shit album...ooops sorry - this fine album kicks off with a song called 'Unite'.  An incisive thrust merges into light melody that AFS are renowned for with that slight tetchy edginess they so craftily intertwine within the weave of the song thus coming up with a harmonious output that is both readily identifiable and punk as fuck.  It hurts to say this but it is a glorious start.  Next 'Chicks, Beer, Fame and Money'  which is in essence a pop song at its cheesy, simplistic  best but with a mean driven bass, cute drums, sinewy guitar and the ever present gravelled vocals it is a lot more.  Pick it up, play, enjoy - no worries at all. Best song of the CD - fantastic!
'Attitude' shows AFS have clout and when they do backlash they do it hard and with spite.  The taloned opening guitar sequence scratches deep and makes way for both a musical and verbal hammering.  No nonsense, straight to the point on all fronts.  Public Health Warning - AFS don't fuck about!
Ok so you record your first album in the U.S., what do you do?  Play it safe or compose a song that questions the war mongering politics of the government?  Come on now this is AFS we are talking about!  Another great song that does indeed pose awkward questions but is delivered with a resigned bewilderment and almost melancholic disillusionment.  It is a beauty and only this outfit could combine the opposing sound and lyrics and get away with it - cute! An insane hybrid next that combines the tunes from 70's detective TV acid trips and a Gerry Anderson Marionation theme.  Add in a bit of  Micheal Bentines Potty Time and you get the gist.  'Wrong Time, Wrong Place' is a yodelling sabre dance that is punked up by 4 tampering noodles that have opted to experiment.  Who cares anyway - this is a solid instrumental piss-about and does the job nicely - take time out, cross your eyes and shindig.

On to 'The Futility Of War' that again adopts an opening bass groove which raises the curtain for basic drums and stylised guitar before Munki growls his usual wordage in that now familiar fashion.  Regulated and typical of the band - can't complain really.  'La La Land' - enter Carl Arnfield - bald, punking skater potater (spud) who is here, there and everywhere be it by plane, train or....erm, skateboard.  This is a new task undertaken by the workaholic music maker after the options closed around him and he was somewhat cornered into carrying out vocal duties.  Behind the mike, in the midst of a somewhat lonesome guitar that makes this sub-acoustic effort a real ear opener the annoying sod comes up smelling of roses.  This was a test of Carls vocal range that in the past has occasionally been found wanting but here he has somehow pulled it off.  A lovely song that has passion and emotive inflection that deals with the spending frenzy people suffer from when loaded up with cash and facing a wonderland of gambling. 'God Fearing Country' seems back to basics as AFS knock out the song with aplomb.  Straightforward foot soldier shit that stinks as good as ever.  It's a trick used several times but hey when it's this good why not?  This may be the weakest and plainest song on the CD but it is still quality which says quite a lot.

Chop, chop and 'Running' cuts to the quick with another obvious surge that has the Arthritic signature running all the way through it. It cruise, spasms and easily picks up the rhythm again before slipping into easy mode with a style oozing class. We finish with the popped and punked 'WDWTFWW (We Do What The Fuck We Want)! Great chorus that disagrees nicely with the stubborn verse and sets up a song to please the most ardent punk pig. An hidden track awaits the patient but what it is and the style it is delivered in will stay secret until you buy your own copy. Get them cowboy boots on though and practice ya spittin' boy - yeeee ahhhhhh!

So there you have it - the old Arthritic Foot Soldiers have me beat again. My critical hand was waiting to pounce and pulverise this bunch of 4 wheeled fuckers for any slip up in quality but alas the poison remains unused. Well perhaps I may not have been so vicious but a bit of an error would have given me the option to use some words I haven't used for AFS before - turd, toss, tit-arse for example. Anyway if you like AFS you will adore this and if you are undecided then this will change your mind and you will be a convert. This is a gem and is an early contender for album of the year - at this stage I can't really praise it more than that!

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