Wednesday, 14 May 2014

SUBHUMANS















































"Internal riot"
Year:  2007
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluurg
Format:  CD , LP
Tracks:  13
Time:  30 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk



























It’s been nine years since singer Dick Lucas and the anarchist U.K. punk band The Subhumans reformed for touring, and 20 years since the band released an album of new material. With punk rock all but squandered by the eyeliner-wearing MTV faithful, Internal Riot arrives just in time to remind us what a punk band is supposed to sound like, rather than what they’re supposed to look like. The screaming jets and guitars in the beginning of “This Year’s War” make it clear that time hasn’t slowed The Subhumans down, as they sound angrier than ever. The moaning guitars and furious drumming sound like the blast of a well-timed bomb. The band delivers 13 songs in 41 minutes without leaving out a single target in Dick Lucas’ raspy assault. Lucas paints his ugly picture of America with lines like “There’s war in the headlines, there’s war in the heads. The leaders will feed us ‘til we’re overfed.” His stories focus on the atrocities of war and violence, and instead of simply pointing out the problem like too many of the bands releasing political-tinted albums today, Lucas’s lyrics actually point to solutions. The majority of the band’s social and political tirades discuss guns and bombs, but “Supermarket Forces” attacks the oversized grocery and department stores that impact local businesses. With Lucas screaming, “The price of all your favorite meals stays low, but now you can’t afford it,” one could assume he doesn’t do his shopping at K-mart. As a whole, the band itself sounds very tight on the album. From the machine gun intro to “Culture Addict” to the simple-yet-effective guitar riffs on the title track, these middle-aged musicians sound like they’re still in their prime. But the album is not strictly limited to two-minute cuts of punk fury. “Too Fat, Too Thin” showcases the band’s lesser-known ska sound, with a punchy bassline and upstroke guitars in a song that focuses on the media’s constant pressure for women to lose weight. If you would have approached the band in 1983 and told them that one day they’d be the heroes of anorexic teenage girls everywhere, do you think The Subhumans would still be around in 2007? With a rich history embedded in the roots of punk rock, and a new album that proves that they haven’t lost their grasp on what’s happening in the world, The Subhumans have managed to stay relevant while showing today’s sugar-coated punk bands what’s really going on. (*NOTE = this review was written by Weezerfan).
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"Live in a dive"
Year:  2004
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Fat Wreck Chords
Format:  CD , 2 x LP
Tracks:  26
Time:  68 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:      Punk        Hardcore




























I got beaten and slaughtered at this very site for having the guts to review the new Descendents EP on Fat Wreck without really being into the band's 80's material. Well let me tell you that The Descendents didn't mean a lot to me and my friends in our younger years (they do now though), while The Subhumans were already huge in 1983 and the years after that because their first LP "The Country Died" was an instant classic. They sold over 100,000 copies of it, which I'm sure didn't happen with The Descendents until more recently. Actually, when I think of my adolescence there's only bands like 7 Seconds, Youth Brigade, J.F.A., Crass, Conflict, Dead Kennedy's and Discharge that I can think of right now that meant as much to me as Subhumans did. That LP really was one of the reasons that I fell for punkrock in my younger years.










I wasn't into singer Dick's new band Citizen Fish too much actually, although there's nothing bad about them either, but I'm pretty sure they too would have been phenomenal if they existed 15 years earlier. Which leaves me concluding that I thoroughly enjoyed the various songs from this debut 1983 album on this live CD that was recorded in 2003 somwehere in California. The other songs, while baring an equal sound, just didn't do the same to me, except maybe for "Rain" and the final 2 songs on here. It obviously has got a lot to do with that thing I often refer to as "personal involvement". In a sense that nostalgia, although it sounds like a lame word, can really make you love certain songs. I don't really own any of their later work, but I do remember listening to it on cassette and it never was instant love like that first LP to be honest.










For those not aware of what Subhumans is all about, they are a political UK band that in my recollection were one of the first to actually have great catchy sing-along songs without sounding really messy. I doubt if they would want to admit this themselves, but maybe they had the same accessiblity to their music as the Sex Pistols had, because you can shout along with all these songs' anthemic choruses and the often "instrumentless" vocal inbetweens. Also there's some pre-historic ska-ish sound in some of these songs, I think I make that connection because of the contra-timed guitars. Additionally they use original metaphores ("Mickey Mouse Is Dead"), self-invented worlds ("Subvert City") and grabbing reality-situations ("This Year's War", a new song about the war in Iraq and maybe the best song besides those of the debut) to sing about our in many ways fucked-up world, the a-social behavior of its inhabitants, animal mistreatments, anti-capitalism, anti-religious matters... Yes, the usual bunch of trouble that we live in. These aren't Anti-Flag lyrics though: they are pretty well thought-over and in no way sloganesque, although the choruses after a while might sound as if they are. Don't let it fool you. Dick is a clever guy and his voice could be one of the most unique out there. It sounds just like it did 20 years ago and I can't think of any similarities here, maybe also due to the fact that we don't hear a lot of UK singers anymore lately.








 

I'm really happy that Fat Wreck took care of these terrific live recordings for their Live In A Dive series, because they are really very sharp, put an emphasize on the amazing vocals and have just the right dosis of audience-sounds to give you a good impression on the energetic atmosphere a show by this band might provoke. I'm yet to witness it, but you can be damn sure I'll be there when I have the opportunity. The comic that comes with this CD is just some illustrations for the lyrics of "Subvert City". The video-interview by Fat Mike that comes with it also has Dick Lucas explaining this song, along with a short one-song live performance.










I'm not sure younger kids out there will have the same impression when they listen to this, for my nostalgic involvement with this band is really not allowing me to review this unbiased, but maybe you should try out songs like "No" and "Mickey Mouse Is Dead", cause they are truly classics for a band that has meant a lot to me. (*NOTE = this review was written by Hein).
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"29:29 split vision"
Year:  1986
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluuurgh
Format:  LP , CD
Tracks:  8
Time:  20 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk



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"Worlds apart"
Year:  1985
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluurg
Format:  CD , LP
Tracks:  15
Time:  40 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:      Punk        Reggae



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http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-kRFtOrxj-z0/TZGlwjOTy0I/AAAAAAAAAj8/jrD08SlRJp4/s1600/CCF27112010_00004.jpg
"Rats"
Year:  1984
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluuurg
Format:  EP
Tracks:  4
Time:  12 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk





























I confess I've spent most of my life listening to "The day of country died" without ever having heard the other recordings SUBHUMANS. And I must say that it is important to give a listen to the few ep's that recorded between 1982 and 1985, as very worthwhile. This "Rats" only has 4 tracks and just 12 minutes of music, but it gives us an example of how the band evolved. Overall sound less "rabid" and less "rebels", but the sound is lighter and faster. The good thing is that SUBHUMANS always sound quite original and never the typical copy of Discharge, GBH and The Exploited. Always maintain a personal nature, and this difference also kept in their subsequent musical projects like Citizen Fish.
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"From the cradle to the grave"
Year:  1983
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluurg
Format:  LP , CD
Tracks:  10
Time:  34 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk




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"Time flies... but aeroplanes crash"
Year:  1983
Country:  UK
City:  London
Label:  Bluuurgh
Format:  EP
Tracks:  8
Time:  20 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk




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http://i967.photobucket.com/albums/ae157/Kingkurt999/subhumans-the-day-the-country-died.jpg
"The day of country died"
Year:  1982
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluurg
Format:  CD
Tracks:  16
Time:  36 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk




























This is the album that started it all. SUBHUMANS put together a great album their first time out. This is one of the greatest punk albums ever released. The album is cover to cover classics from the first track to the last. Tracks like ‘No’, ‘Subvert City’, the title track, ‘Mickey Mouse is Dead’. I could go on. All together make this great album. One of the greatest punk album recorded ever. Great stuff from a great band.
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"EP-LP"
Year:  1981
Country:  UK
City:  Bath
Label:  Bluuurgh
Format:  CD
Tracks:  19
Time:  44 min.
Lyrical themes:  anarchism, pacifism
Genre:  rock
Style:       Punk



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