Friday, 6 February 2015
Bug Central "Money and riots" Ep, 2000
Reading news about Class War today inspired me to post this Ep. What with the successful Poor Doors protest and the current occupation of a building to resist gentrification, CW has a youthful and outrageous energy - the age of the participants notwithstanding - that I greatly enjoy. And having banners with "wankers" written under pictures of prominent members of the political class is as childish as it is wonderful, not to mention empowering and, who knows, effective. Just like a healthy slice of punk-rock, right? For some reason, while reading Ian Bone's blog, I thought that Bug Central would be the perfect soundtrack for a Class War action. It is angry, politically-charged, direct and snottier than a bus full of teenagers.
One can meaningfully associate Bug Central with the late 90's/early 00's London anarchopunk scene that saw bands like Active Slaughter or Riot/Clone at the top of their game. The band formed in 1996 and originally had a former X-Cretas member on drums. They were really active until 2002 then seemed to have taken a long break before kicking back to life in 2008. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Bug Central is to the UK anarchopunk sound what Zero Tolerance (assuming you read my earth-shattering post about their album) is to the UK82 one. Both bands were around at the same time, probably from the same generation and shared that genuine, sincere approach to music. Like Zero Tolerance, Bug Central was not a referential band, and although they were undeniably influenced by bands like Subhumans, Anthrax, Liberty or Riot/Clone, I would venture that they didn't really intend to sound like them, as if it were not intentional but rather something that came naturally to them because they overplayed "Religious war" or "Capitalism is cannibalism" at home or something. Anyway... Expect some nasty, tuneful mid-tempo punk-rock with distinctive vocals that definitely sets the band apart if you ask me. Just like the music, the voice sounds effortlessly angry and threatening without ever being forceful or parodic (it reminds me of one of the singers of Cress actually), a rare feat if you really think about it. The music is not spectacular or especially original but it does a perfect job at providing the listener with a slightly updated version of the early 80's anarcho sound and I like to think than it does it better than bands who purposely have that kind of agenda and, more often than not, fail because they just try too hard.
Lyrics show that the boys were not too happy with the state of things and thanks fuck for that. "Money and riots", the best track on the Ep, is about capitalism, poverty and social classes; "Smart-bombs for the nation" (I apologize for the few skips...) is about the alienating power of television; "Bank job" is an Intensive Care cover (not the 80's band, the latter one from London) and "Halo projector" is a song against religious loonies and their dangerous fear of God. The Ep also includes a short text about punks who are stuck in the past and are just a parody of themselves, wallowing in self-complacency and being self-righteous armchair critics. Next to this text, the band provided a list of contacts of worthy struggles to support such as Class War, the ALF or the AFA.
My version of this 2000 Ep is the North-American one, released on Arson Records from Canada, a label that also put out a really good live from Amebix ("Make some fucking noise") as well as Besk and Kakistocracy records. The UK version was released on BBP records, a label that was responsible for the Icons of Filth live Ep and the Nausea/Jesus Chrust/Apostates tape that I posted on the blog a while ago, as well as excellent tapes from anarcho bands like Alternative or Civilised Society? in the 80's. For some strange reason, Bug Central's first Lp had been released on Helen of Oi! just one year before, an oddity that I still can't really explain... Maybe the label was drawn to the 80's sound of the band? To the band's direct approach to politics? Maybe they didn't bother reading the lyrics? Whatever the reason is, it is a little absurd to see a Oi label releasing an anarchopunk record... Oh well, if Hard Skin were able to fool them... Maybe they couldn't read?