Vinyl Vlog 466

Vinyl Vlog 466

Thursday, 10 December 2020
”Promised Us A Future” by Doug and The Slugz.

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the Oi! This is Streetpunk! 2020 compilation from Pirates Press Records. This far into the evolution of punk rock, it has reached the point where the myriad sub-genres that punk produced are easily able to stand on their own as well as having a dedicated, autonomous fanbase which doesn’t necessarily rely on crossover appeal to get over with listeners. Simply said, hardcore bands don’t have to hope for some runoff fans from the pop-punk camp, and bands who make post-punk music don’t have to hope they’ll also draw some emo kids too. In the same line, streetpunk doesn’t have to hope they’ll be able to pull some fans from other sub-genres too – but Oi! This is Streetpunk! 2020 certainly holds the promise and possibility of having a few cuts which can play to more than one camp.

The A-side of the comp just sort of crashes to life without a whole lot of ceremony, but with the help of Antagonizers Atl and their song, “A Way of Life” – a song which is unique to this comp [read: it’s a previously unreleased song –ed]. There, the inherent “smooth” and “scruffy” aspects of punk rock at the peak of its powers combines as singer Bohdan Zachary barks brilliantly over a progression which can only be called flawlessly explosive as the band holds together the incendiary sounds in the song while also starting the fires. That beginning dovetails nicely into the guttural snarl of “Unbreakable Breed” by Concrete Elite before Lion’s Law adds some French dressing and inevitablity to the proceedings with “Un Jour,” The Welch Boys import some almost Heartbreakers-esque tones to the proceedings with “Methadone Mile” and Bonecrusher make the low end and the lowdown a fact of life with “Desperation” to close the side.

Now, some readers who haven’t yet experienced this comp may balk and say that locking five songs – five bands – together in one paragraph as this critic has done (or even summing each up in a sentence or less) is offering the songs collected here short shrift. That’s not true though – the urgency of each of these songs is what makes them and gives them their power, so trying to stretch or over-intellectualize them would be the event which really does the songs a disservice.

The B-side of this set keeps the urgency up very well as “A Natural Unnatural” opens, thanks to Hard Evidence. Here again, the gloss on both the song and the band is minimal and the crunch is fantastic – and that informs Armada’a “The Rebel Sound” and “NY Hounds” before the comp turns and looks more directly at some more “uniquely U.K.” sounds which round out the B-side as well as opening the C- (see the cuts from The Young Ones and The Opposition), before closing out the running in turn with a little more French investigations courtesy of Faction S and a surprisingly good cover of Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” from The Take. That cover actually proves to be absolutely sublime as the rhythm of the song lends itself to a more aggressive treatment (which it receives here) very handily.

The final side of this set proves to hold some great gems for those who make their way through, as well. In the end, Doug and The Slugz bring a great and lean sneer with “Promised Us a Future.” One of the most standout songs from the comp, the melody is under-developed but the instrumentation rocks its way through with 100 per cent volume – not processed sound – which makes it instantly attractive to the right ears, while “You Won’t Change Us” (by Knock Off) just seethes with contempt and plays as much like a threat as it does a promise.

In the end, after the needle lifts, no listener who partakes of Oi! This is Streetpunk! 2020 will be left not believing that they have indeed been made believers that this permutation of punk is destined to capture a whole lot more attention in 2021 than it has previously. Each of the bands on this comp exert a presence on the play of the two ten-inch records which comprise this set and will cause listeners to want to investigate the music more deeply. That, in effect, makes Oi! This is Streetpunk! 2020 an undeniable success. That said, here’s hoping that each of the bands on this comp are ready to release more music in the near future, to capitalize on the exposure this comp will afford – because it is comping. [Bill Adams]


Oi! This is Streetpunk! 2020 is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.

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