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U.K. Subs - Universal (Cover Artwork)

U.K. Subs

U.K. Subs: UniversalUniversal (2002)
Captain Oi!

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: JanelleJJanelleJ
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Just when it seems like the world is full of uncertainties, there's one thing we can always count on: the U.K. Subs. So shame on me for not procuring a copy of their latest record Universal until five months after it was released. Why? Well there are a couple of reasons. Most notably, Charl.


Just when it seems like the world is full of uncertainties, there's one thing we can always count on: the U.K. Subs. So shame on me for not procuring a copy of their latest record Universal until five months after it was released. Why? Well there are a couple of reasons. Most notably, Charlie Harper and his ever-changing line-up, which on this disc includes Alan Campbell on guitar, Simon Rankin on bass, and Jason Willer of Enemies fame (!) on drums, that make up the U.K. Subs, consistently create some of the best punk rock around, and also because 2002 marks their twenty-fifth year of existence, not an easy feat by any means. Moreover, this, their twenty-first (?) release is a testament to their place in punk's history, present, and future. And lucky me: the first 1500 copies include a bonus live CD, one of which I managed to get my grubby paws on.

In any case, the Subs always play with immense heart and conviction-their music never lacks purpose or meaning, as the lyrics, especially on this disc, convey important messages, whether they be social as on "Devolution" and "White Lie" with lines like "Upper class/You're the one I hate/If we had our way/You'd burn at the stake," or political as on "Spoils of War" and "Universal."

Since the release of their debut Another Kind of Blues in 1979, a loud, fast, edgy, and aggressive style has been their modus operandi, and they don't stray from this winning formula on Universal, although they do mix things up on a couple of songs. For instance, the brilliant "Spoils of War" includes a ska-tinged breakdown that slows the tempo up briefly, while "Crossfire" is a reggae-infused number and "The Dark" is a rather sedate song. However, the other twelve songs are pure in-your-face punk rock. Simply stated, nobody does it better. Just listen to the tumultuous "White Lie," "Papers Lie," with its frantic music and pleading vocals, the hectic yet emotional "Fragile," or "Hollywood." Clocking in at one minute 38 seconds, it's a short, blatant renunciation of the industry.

So, this is an extremely solid release from one of the true stalwarts of punk. It's just as good as their earlier stuff like the aforementioned Blues and 1980's Brand New Age, and rivals 1996's two memorable releases Riot and Quintessentials. These guys could show those tame, radio-friendly so-called "punk" bands a thing or two.

As for the bonus live disc, it's recorded at a show in 2000, has superb sound quality, and includes sixteen classic punk tunes, such as "C.I.D.," "Stranglehold," and great renditions of "Limo Life" and "New York State Police."

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The God Awfuls - Next Stop ArmageddonRocket From The Tombs - Rocket ReduxThe Duane Peters Gunfight - The Duane Peters GunfightThe Enemies - Seize The DaySnapcase - End TransmissionPipedown - Enemies of ProgressThe Damned - Machine Gun EtiquetteAFI - 336 [10 inch picture disc]The Havoc - Our Rebellion Has Just BegunDefiance - Nothing Lasts Forever

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TheOneTrueBill (December 21, 2002)

they're british, aren't they? ;)

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

Great review! This actually makes me want to check out a band i probably should've years ago.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

yea lars was in and out of the subs pretty quick... i dont think he ever recorded with the band... but the songs he wrote WERE recorded.. i cant remember which album...

evildeadalive (December 17, 2002)

Yeah, I think I really like this Janelle... Great reviews of great punk rock.

waste_elite (December 17, 2002)

Janelle's got good taste in music

the subs rock it hard

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

You got it.

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

Didn't Lars used to be in the UK Subs?

-sickboi

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