Monday, 13 August 2012
Concrete Sox "Lunched out" Ep 1990
Today, let's enjoy a 7 inch record from a band that everyone seems to know and yet is seldom talked about. Concrete Sox were from Nottingham (and not from Derby as I originally wrote...) and managed to last longer than most of their peers, reforming punctually throughout their lifetime. Actually, they are still around though some witnesses confided their recent live performances haven't exactly been convincing. And that's a shame, because if that live Ep teaches us one thing, it is that the Sox were a great live band in their prime.
The songs were recorded during their 1989 European tour with Doom if I'm not mistaken, in the Dutch town of Groningen, home of Extreme Noise Error, Mushroom Attack or Fleas and Lice. The label responsible for this was Desperate Attempt, from the US, and one look at the list of their releases is enough to leave one speechless: Apocalypse, Hiatus, Chaos UK, Deviated Instinct, Disorder, Thatcher on Acid or Filthkick all had records on Desperate Attempt. Good work. Anyway, "Lunched out" is only the second DA release and only 1000 copies were pressed. This is a live recording, probably from a squat gig, therefore don't expect too clear a sound: it lies on the "rough and ready" side of things as far as the sound quality is concerned. However, what the record lacks in clarity is balanced with the energy of the band's playing. The songs are a tad faster than on records and the band is tight enough to make this an asset. In fact, the recording has a real squat quality to it, as if you had traveled back in time and were in a damp basement surrounded by mulleted punks with a dodgy hygiene, watching a bunch of tramps playing blazing, whirlwind-like metallic hardcore-punk. Idyllic, isn't it? The Dutch streetpunk band Antidote had a song called "I wish I was 15 in 1977", but when I listen to this record, I'd definitely sign for "15 in 1987"!
Despite the relative shortness of the record (only 4 songs), you still have one song from each of their albums played live: "Eminent scum" from "Your turn next", "Scientific slaughter" from "Whoops, sorry vicar!", "Speak Siberian or die" from the split Lp with Heresy and "Product" from "Sewerside" (my favourite Sox record). This is pretty much Concrete Sox at their peak, you can feel the intensity and the motivation. If you have never heard Concrete Sox, they could be defined as a metal-punk band with a healthy dose of thrash-metal and anarchopunk lyrics. I hate the term "crossover" but I guess they might fall in this category, although the "Sewerside" Lp (their best achievement if you ask me) had more of a crusty feel to it, heavier guitar and pummelling drums. Somewhere between Legion of Parasites and English Dogs with an amazingly snotty, aggressive vocalist who still remains to be quite tuneful (in a GBH meets Deviated Instinct way). Lyrics are included in the record and show that Concrete Sox gave a shit. "Scientific slaughter" is about the cruelty and greed of whale hunting; "Speak Siberien or die" is a song against Billy Milano ("a fat fascist wanker!") and his prejudiced and narrow-minded views (I suppose that one didn't age too well lyrically); "Eminent scum" is in two parts, the first one deals with fascist politicians and powerful people in general controlling us, keeping us all in line, while the second part is about hunt-sabbers being abused and beaten and the double-standards of the law that always protects the wealthy landlords and harshly punishes the sabs. Finally, "Product" is a song against homophobia and machismo and how they reflect the perpetrators' insecurities, ignorance and frustration.