Where are they all coming from?! All these amazing punk bands!! A mate commented last year that there are so many great DIY grassroots punk bands there aren’t enough punks to go round! I’m starting to think he had a point!
Someone sent me a copy of Prepare Yourself for an Emergency a split CD of eight tracks; two each from The Fleas, Geezapunx, Brash Bullets and Le Snags. The Fleas I knew, they released the excellent five track Heartbreaker EP a couple of years ago, so I was interested to hear what they’ve been up to since, especially as they are working on a new release.
Le Snags, Geezapunx and Brash Bullets I hadn’t heard of but was intrigued to see that Le Snags have a psych thing mixed in to their musical melting pot and seem to have (had) some connection to The Snuggle Bugs. Brash Bullets are a Southampton based trio who cite the boredom of a Cowell and Coldplay mainstream music scene as one of the main reasons they got a band together to play ‘77 influenced honest, aggressive punk. Geezapunx are an old school four piece from Basingstoke with a four track EP Angry out last year and a nice line in self deprecating humour (check out the track ‘Geezapunx’)!
Best idea seems to be to break the tracks down by band rather than jumping around so first up is The Fleas ‘Bouncer’ which starts off with the hubbub of a crowded venue and “All right love, got any ID on you?” Emily’s elegant response being “Fuck Off!” before the music kicks in, ace riff! Somehow Emily always manages to write songs that are punk but with a real musicality and pop sensibility (that’s positive btw), the track ends with Emily asking “Don’t you know who I am?” “I don’t care who you are, you’re not coming in” Great start! The Fleas also end the CD with track 8 ‘Fight/Too Punk For Centre Parcs’ which starts off with a nice bass line with the vocals coming in exploring the struggle to live a meaningful life in a society that pressures all of us towards conformity, the song then segues into ‘Too Punk For Centre Parcs’ and it’s in this track that The Fleas really hit their stride, great chorus “Too Punk For Centre Parcs, too drunk for Centre Parcs” underpinned with a great drum sound and with vocals that reminded me a lot of George Cheex of the excellent 80s band !Action Pact!-where’s the repeat button?
Brash Bullets have track 2 and 6, ‘If You’re Alive Girl’ and ‘Claws’. This band have an EP coming out in June Fake News Old Wounds and if the two tracks on here are anything to go by it will be worth checking out! ‘If You’re Alive Girl’ seems to be a celebration of the spontaneity and unpredictability of youth over a rollockingly good punk track that The Damned would have been happy with in their early days! ‘Claws’ is more of the same musically with lyrics that include “You make me want to scream aarrgghh! Money talks and Bullshit walks” Really good, reckon these would be great live!
Next up is Geezapunx with ‘Black Life/Black Death’. I’d never heard of this band before listening to this CD which is my loss. As it says on the tin it’s old school punk but it’s what’s embedded in the music that marks the track out, real incisive, intelligent quality lyrics on Oil. Capitalism, environmental crisis, dependency, pollution-it is all alluded to here in clever, concise shorthand. Next up by them is ’Go Jezza Go’ about everyone’s favourite social democrat. As someone who is a member of the Labour Party as long as Corbyn is leading it, I love this track! Nice drum led intro before the vocals and guitar really get going-fantastic! Guitar reminds me a bit of Dead Kennedys at times while in the verses the singer reminds us of Corbyn’s politics with a chorus of “They made him a joke candidate. Go Jezza Go! Then he got up to speak and stole the fucking show. Blair said he was toxic. Go Jezza Go! That warmongers bullshit will make him fucking grow!” Great track, would love to see these and Truth Equals Treason on the same bill!
Track 4 and 7 belong to Le Snags and are really very good indeed. First up is ‘Oi! Wot I Said’, distorted vocals over fuzzy guitar, shows how diverse punk can be, really good, slightly psyched out stuff with vocals exploring feelings of social/political disempowerment and being ignored (as a means of control?). Their second track is ‘Carpathian Warlord Pt 2/Enemy’, now this really is very good indeed-in fact it is so good it reminds me of GNOD on Mirror and Just Say No…, distorted noise rock with vocals that sound like they are coming at you through a megaphone. Then about half way through it suddenly speeds up and goes from a vaguely sinister Hawkwindish vibe to psych punk-excellent! Have this lot got an EP at all?
Look, I don’t know if you’ve got a spare £4 or not but if it’s a choice between another pint or this then buy Prepare Yourself for an Emergency, it’s a cracking CD made up of 8 great tracks by four diverse bands who are compelling evidence that the quality of DIY punk has never been stronger!
Contact the bands involved for a copy, even better get along to see them and buy a copy after the gig!