Monday, 7 January 2013
Task Force "Fresh air" Ep 2011
Task Force were a little-known band from Stanley, County Durham, a mining town in the North of England. They formed in 1982, split up in 1984, recorded three demos and had the one track on an obscure local benefit compilation Ep called "Rock and dole". Hardly the high-profile band. However, the band penned a couple of absolutely cracking tunes during their short existence and it is a shame they didn't get to record a proper Ep of their own.
If we are to believe the biography of the band that appears on the backcover, the scene in the Durham area at the time was far more chaotic, violent and disorganized than it would be a couple of years later and one may even venture that the band's environment didn't exactly help them. Although the lyrics are not included (this always baffles me, but a lot of current reissues don't have lyrics as if labels didn't deem them important enough, but I digress...), the band seemed to sing about political issues such as the Falklands war (the name "Task Force" actually refers to this war), the army, living in a society that doesn't give a damn about working-class youth or the Cold War. The band also illustrates how the boundary between the anarchopunk scene and the "Burning Britain" one (the second wave basically) was very thin sometimes, as the Task Force lads met at a CND rally and did send their demo to Crass in order to be included on Bullshit Detector (it never materialized though) but also played with bands such as Uproar.
Originally, Task Force were called "Crack in the Brickwork" (you can find a rehearsal demo of the band under this moniker on the always excellent Terminal Escape) and they played a brand of punk that had more to do with the first wave than the second. Task Force had this unmistakable 1977 tunefulness and I am sometimes even reminded of the Ulster bands of that era, albeit with a slightly darker edge to it. The voice is very clear and melodic, the chorus are glorious and there are some excellent catchy guitar leads which makes Task Force's songs some of the best old-school punk-rock tunes from the second wave that I have heard. Think Chron Gen, Naked, Emergency, Toxik Ephex or No Choice.
Unfortunately, the sound is not so good at times. The Ep includes two tracks from the first demo and three from the second and you can hear that the master tape has had a rough life. Don't let this mere incident distract you from the classic slices of punk-rock tunes that you will find on this record however. It was released on Rave up records, a prolific Italian label that I know nothing about but I am guessing they mostly released local old-school punk-rock.