Sunday, 11 November 2012

Designer Fear "Survivor" Ep 1990

It is still unclear who wrote the song "Two years too late". Was it Anti-Pasti or the Epileptics? Whoever wrote that song, one thing is certain: Designer Fear were a couple of years too late. They missed the second wave of British punk-rock by eight years and the metal-punk one by four, a discrepancy that may account for them vanishing into punk obscurity.

Designer Fear were an English band from the very late 80's/very early 90's, but apart from this, I know very little about them. This is their only record, released on the always reliable Looney Tunes records in 1990. That and apparently, two siblings played in the band together, Rebecca and Mike. And that's it really. Judging from the inclusion of Charlie Harper, Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys and Trench Fever on the thank-list, they could have been from London, but then they also thank a bloke from Ottawa and SNFU, so there might be a Canadian connection as well for all I know. Sonically, Designer Fear play a mix of UK82 punk-rock and early thrash-metal. This said, the sound is sufficiently raw - some would say weak - to make it lie firmly on the punkier side of things. Imagine a sloppier early Broken Bones or Picture Frame Seduction trying to play metal riffs or Aftermath during their first rehearsal, then add a healthy spoonful of British melodic hardcore like Depraved and voilà!

Designer Fear seemed to have been a rather political band and their lyrics are really good. "Banned from the UDC" is about the class divide in terms of accomodation and how fancy houses are always being built for the toffs while the poor have to deal with shabby housing; "Survivor" is a Mad Max tribute song about a bloke who manages to survive the nuclear apocalypse thanks to his fallout shelter and finds himself the sole survivor in the wasteland; "Cardboard city" is about homelessness and street survival tactics in the face of government neglect; finally "The enemy within" is an attack against sexism and racism within the punk scene and a statement that such behaviours should be fought.

The artwork is good-looking and the red spots - meant to represent drops of blood - are superimposed over the cover so you actually have the impression that somebody bled on your record (granted the blood doesn't look dark enough but I like the intent). On the whole, this is not a crucial record and the songs are definitely impaired by the recording budget, but it is honest, intelligent punk-rock nevertheless and should please lovers of the 80's British punk scene.

Designer Fear    


  1. Mike was Canadian and Rebecca was his American wife, since long divorced. They were London based. They were pretty much Mikes project by this time. Mike moved back to Canada a while back.