Sham 69

The title reminds me of that Ghandi quote. On being asked what he thought of western civilisation he said that he thought it would be a good idea!
For Sham 69, culture is as subtle as a flying brick – all sloganeering and brutal riffs. Ah, just like the old days…… Sham were never subtle and their proselytising mirrored their celebration of drinking and rucking. In fact, they gave up touring in the late seventies after their music attracted too many wanting a good fight. But, as they state in their second track here – “no apologies, it’s just a beating heart”. It’s all about the energy – chuntering guitars, banging drums and old school punk trimmings. In fact, it’s like the eighties and nineties never happened. I don’t know how relevant this band of muckers sound today but they make Green Day look like prog rockers. There is a simple sense of humour and rawness – ASBO Sports Day is a laugh, old school wry comment. Give Me A minute is raucous but carries important messages like, if all the workers stopped for a minute, we’d recognise who has the power and the world would change. That was the refreshing thing about sloganeering punk and it’s good to hear it is still being done.

Despite being largely written by frontman of thirty years, Jimmy Pursey and Dave Parsons (guitar), the band dropped Pursey recently and these songs are punched out by East End loudmouth, Tim V, with London élan. And it was about time too, this is the first album in ten years. If you want to watch a fight, try tracking Pursey’s site, where he declares that he IS Sham 69. But, squabbling apart, this is straight ahead punk of a fine vintage that doesn’t smell retro, mostly because the band seem to have failed to notice the passing of the last thirty years!

Ross McGibbon