Ziezo Album review in Vive Le Rock magazine
Ziezo gets another fantastic review! This time in the latest issue (No.36) of Vive Le Rock magazine, cheers to Shane Baldwin for the words...
Here's Shane's review
The Subs hit the big ‘Z’
Of course way back in 1979, when singer Charlie Harper, guitarist Nicky Garratt, bassist
Paul Slack and drummer Pete Davies named the first UK Subs album ‘Another Kind Of
Blues’, they had no intention of releasing an album for every letter of the alphabet. The
album went to No.21 on the national chart, followed the next year by ‘Brand New Age’, which
made No.18, and their biggest hit, the live album ‘Crash Course’ which soared into the Top
10 at No.8, giving us A, B and C, but it’s still not clear when the band noticed this sequence
and decided to continue it. The Subs’ last chart album, ‘Diminished Responsibility’, with Alvin
Gibbs and Steve Roberts replacing Slack and Davies, went to No.18 in 1981, but while the
hits dried up, and the Subs’ line-up changed with startling rapidity, they established
themselves as one of punk’s most hard-working bands, seasoned road-hogs. And the
albums piled up.
The standard of their mid-period albums, while mostly high, did falter occasionally, with
1991’s ‘Mad Cow Fever’ most fans’ nadir, but it’s been a magnificent run-up to the fabled ‘Z’
album. The current band, with Harper, Gibbs, Jet on guitar and drummer Jamie Oliver, is the
Subs’ longest running line-up, and certainly the best since the early ‘80s, delivering modern
Subs classics in ‘Work In Progress’ (2011), ‘XXIV’ (2013) and ‘Yellow Leader’ (2015), and
now, here we are, at last, with ‘Ziezo’.
The danger could have been that with all the fuss made, and anticipation about, the Subs’
gloriously bonkers achievement in completing a full alphabet of albums, and, apparently,
winning a place in ‘The Guinness Book Of Records’, that the actual quality of the content of
‘Ziezo’ might get lost in the melee. Releasing the album through PledgeMusic, with coloured
vinyl, signed sleeves, signed drum skins, personal appearances etc. has also added to the
hype, but thankfully, having waded through all that (and stumped up 23 notes for the three-
coloured vinyl jobby) when you finally whack ‘Ziezo’ on the turntable, it’s a monster of an
Opener ‘Polarisation’ is a pounding, breathless slab of slickly precise punk metal, followed
by ‘Oligarchy’ a more traditional Subs chugger with soaring choruses, as is Charlie and Jet’s
‘World War 111’, while Alvin’s ‘I’ve Got A Gun’ is a crisp rocker with a killer singalong chorus.
One Subs fan of my acquaintance winces openly at the sound of Charlie’s mouth organ, and
there it is on ‘Disclosure’, but fear not, the song is a pleasingly swaggering spot of rock ‘n’
Jamie’s ‘This Machine’ roars along at breakneck speed, a monstrous hardcore workout
nailed down with rock solid drums as Charlie shreds his vocal chords over the top, followed
by the relatively sedate Clash-style reggae rocker ‘City Of The Dead’, and we end with more
traditional Subs fare in Charlie and Jamie’s ‘Zeitgeist’.
Add to all this a truly huge production job by Pat Collier, and you have a UK Subs album that
more than lives up to the occasion.