The following news story appeared on the T&M homepage:
LEFT OF THE DIAL WEBSITE REVIEW OF 'XXIV'
There has been a late - but rather fabulous - review of the new U.K. Subs long-player by the splendid David Ensminger on his Left Of The Dial website...
Archived also below!
UK Subs / XXIV: Captain Oi Records
With an assured slight change of style, as if they were absorbing both uptempo Killing Joke and rollicking sea shanties (evidenced on the bluesy “Higher Tide”), UK Subs produce a frothy, heart-attack inducing piece of punk rock that feels updated for the modern world, not hijacked by nostalgia.
For instance, “Implosion 77” might name drop the past, the zero hour of punk’s second wave, but its soundscape is much more akin to Amebix, for its mood-deepened ambience, titanic propulsion, and dark cresting melodies feel brooding, not merely bellowing. The perfect companion, though an extra acoustic track at the far end of the disk, is “The Outsider,” a coffee house tune pregnant with alienation and longing.
With Charlie firmly at the helm, stirring the battle cry, the band once again acts as a news service for the disenchanted and angry. “Speed,” with torqued metallic urges, rants about the speed that has infiltrated Western culture, from monstrous industrial steam age to the rocket age, in which life feels as if its moving at a snail’s pace without cars and gadgets. Meanwhile, “Detox,” with its classic rock’n’roll underbelly, shines a dirty lens on drug culture, poverty, and the irony of “Detox is for quitters.” The early grave comes into sharp focus, and Charlie is here to issue the warning.
“Rabid,” indeed, seems to foam at the mouth: the band produces a thick, accelerated stab of powered-by-nitro hardcore that details the allegory of an infected dog packed with pain; furthermore, “Momento Mori” sheds the slack too and aims for the same velocity and vigor, describing the deep bowels of mortality, with one frank but slightly odd add-on for the last line, “Clean up your neighborhood.” Not a silly sentiment, but not exactly expected, given the song’s somber hues.
As mentioned, “Failed State” feels like a slight nod to Killing Joke. With nuanced musical layers (including keyboards/synthesizer), mid-tempo rollicking, and a hard bitter stare at failed states galore, replete with assassinations and intimidation by gun violence, it hits hard. Luckily, the acoustic extra tracks, like the homage to Alberta, Canada (“Four Strong Winds”) lighten the overall load a bit; still, the soapbox hootenanny punk waxes strong and virile on “Stop Global War.”
Sure, this is NOT a by-the-book UK Subs outing, so it might distract or even distance a few casual fans. Though the band doesn’t exactly wholly reinvent their brand, they do prove to be neither static nor fossilized. They are a living, morphing entity, just as Social Distortion and Leatherface have proved over the years. Consider this a work in progress, a music banner still freshly undulating.