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U.K. Subs - Work In Progress

    Ian Jane

  • U.K. Subs - Work In Progress

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    Released by: Captain Oi
    Released on: 1/25/2011
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    The twenty-third album from a band that's very quickly approaching their thirty-fifth anniversary, the U.K. Subs' Work In Progress, their first album since 2002's Universal, brings the band one step closer to releasing an album for each letter of the alphabet. Still lead by vocalist Charlie Harper, the band this time around is made up of guitar player Nicky Garrett, drummer Jamie Oliver and bass player Alvin Gibbs, their latest effort is a pretty serious slice of skuzzy punk rock with the guitars right up front in the mix and some choruses that'll have you singing along in no time.

    The album starts off with an appropriately pissed off sounding track called Creation and more or less keeps that pace for the duration. There aren't any ballads or slow songs here, nor would you want or expect there to be, instead what we've got here are fourteen tracks of the kind of aggressive and tightly played music that the band has become known for over their three decade plus career. Other highlights, aside from the opening track, include the poppier sounding Tokyo Rose (a love song on a Subs album? Yep! But it's a good one, so fear not) and the incredibly irate Axe, while a cover of The Sonics' classic Strychnine also stands out (though The Cramps still own that song as far as some of us are concerned). Rock N Roll Whore borrows from the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders a bit more than you'd probably expect from a band like the U.K. Subs but it's to good effect, the track works well, while Radio Unfriendly is, as you could guess, the band basically flipping off the mainstream media that's ignored them for the bulk of their career.

    Harper's vocals still have that gritty street vibe to them and the lyrics are typically bleak as is the norm for the band, though this isn't necessarily an album about the increasingly shitty state of the world or dire things to come. Instead like much of the band's output it's about the troubles of day to day life, which makes it something most people are able to relate to. Production values are strong across the board and the album sounds clean and polished without losing its aggressive and at times almost raw sound. The recording is clean enough to appreciate but not so polished as to take away the type of sound you'd want from a band like this.

    All in all, while eight years is a long time to wait between albums, Work In Progress is the best thing that the U.K. Subs have put out in some time. Universal was decent enough but this one really slams it into high gear. Here's hoping a follow up happens sooner rather than later and that they're able to play off of whatever momentum that they had going into the studio for this one.

    The complete track listing on the album is:

    Creation / Tokyo Rose / Hell Is Other People / The Axe / Radio Unfriendly / This Chaos / Guru / Eighteen Wheels / Children Of The Flood / All Blurs Into One / Blood / Rock N Roll Whore / Strychnine / Robot Age

    • Nolando
      Senior Member
      Nolando commented
      Editing a comment
      So, Ian, is *every* cover the Cramps did the best version of that cover ever?

      Just curious since I'd say, in the case of Strychnine, beyond The Sonics' original, Poison 13's cover is pretty much the end-all. :bruce:

    • Ian Jane
      Ian Jane
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      Not every one, no, but most of them.

      Their cover of Route 66 kinda sucks, but then, so does everyone else's. Except Guitar Wolf.
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