As I’ve probably said more than once before, I like to get my music delivered through the post. Not only does it mean I usually deal direct with the label or band, it’s cheaper, there are often freebies and, most importantly, I love getting a parcel through the letterbox when I least expect it.
This past weekend was no exception. My friendly postie knocked the door and, with her usual cheerfulness, handed over a 12″ square package. Mmm, now I wonder what that could be? A sticker on the outside spoiled the surprise slightly by telling me that it had come from Insurgence Records, my favourite Canuck anti-fascist streetpunk label. But it also quickened my heart a bit too. It always takes a bit of time for their orders to arrive as I generally choose surface mail and spend the savings on more noise and associated stuff. That’s never been a problem for me ‘cos the wait’s always been worth it. This one kept their 100% record intact.
Opening it up revealed the Fighting Chance (from Baltimore) package deal I ordered back at the end of January. Consisting of a limited edition clear blue vinyl pressing of their ‘Sacrifice And Struggle’ LP (wrapped in a classy metallic silver sleeve), an exclusively-coloured and stylish t-shirt (I got the ‘Ashtray Grey’ version ‘cos smoking’s big and clever), and a copy of their blood-red 7″ ‘Party Lies’, as well as some promo posters and stickers, it was punk perfection. And a total bargain at only $20 (US) including snail mail.
Of course, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating, but I had a feeling that this was going to be a very tasty dessert. A feeling that proved to be pretty much spot on.
This is powerful stuff played with skill, passion and a heavy dose of hardcore attitude. Both records rush along at a healthy pace whilst maintaining great balance and clarity in the mix. The only minor gripe is the overall level is a bit on the low side on the album, but that’s what the volume knob’s for. Suffice to say, they’re nicely polished recordings and show off the musical talent admirably.
But without a voice and words to match, such technical prowess would be wasted and incomplete. That’s where Bullseye (vox, natch) delivers, taking the collaborative writing talents of the band and turning them into a message that simply cannot be ignored. Whether it’s taking the farce that passes for democracy to task and pointing a very pointy finger at politicians that ‘don’t give a damn about you and me’ (‘Party Lies’), or recounting glorious and inspiring tales of working class struggle when they remind us that ‘the working class built this land’ (‘History Repeats’), this is straight talking at its very best.
Fighting Chance called it a day in 2005, but their message is still much needed. This is essential listenening for anyone who likes their music loud, political and uncompromising.
Download sample tracks ‘Blamed’ and ‘History Repeats’
Footnote: while you’re checking out Insurgence Records, don’t miss out on their anti-fascist awareness / label sampler compilation ‘Project Boneyard’. This was released a few years back to counter some particularly nasty bonehead sampler being dished out to schoolkids in North America by ‘white power’ losers. It’s completely free to grab and distribute, it’s all 320kbs mp3s, and there’s artwork included for printing your own sleeve. It’s also a damned fine sampler featuring the cream of anti-fascist streetpunk, Oi! and hardcore bands, including original skins The Oppressed and German herberts Stage Bottles. Off you go then.