The Uncouth - Jonesy's War (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Uncouth

Jonesy's War (2016)

Teenage Heart Records

Great street punk bands continue to pop up in the most unlikely places. In this case it’s The Uncouth from Kansas City, MO. They’ve been kicking around since 2010, but have really gotten serious in the last couple of years. They’ve even expanded from a trio to a quartet. Jonesy’s War is a 12 inch EP and is the band’s second proper release, coming hot on the heels of last year’s KC United 7 inch. The Uncouth sounds heavily influenced by classic Oi bands like The Business, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69 and especially Cock Sparrer. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that their label, Teenage Heart, is named after a Cock Sparrer song. I might also hear just a touch of old school American hardcore, but without the metal overtones.

Jonesy’s War is six songs in 20 minutes, and the five minute title track is its centerpiece. It’s the powerful story about a young man struggling to return from war. It’s not clear if it’s based on an actual individual, but it’s an all too familiar tale in this age of never ending conflict. It definitely packs an emotional punch. The record is worth buying for this song alone. There are two distinct voices on this record, one raspier than the other. They’re both good individually and also work well together. The lead guitar provides melody and floats over the mix.

The rest of the songs cover more traditional working class street punk topics. Opener “Madness on the Streets” is the shortest and fastest song on the EP and confronts police brutality. “Same Old Story” speaks of the blue collar rut of working and drinking. “Got Me Wrong” is fast, angry and a personal favorite. It also contains my favorite lyric “When I see you on the street/You’ll be picking up your teeth”. Two working class anthems wrap up Jonesy’s War. ”Stand Up” has the EP’s best guitar leads while “Living Wage” might have its catchiest chorus.

I’m a huge fan of Cock Sparrer and many of the other early English punk bands, so this is right up my alley. I was hooked after only a listen or two. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be singing (shouting) along in no time. The Uncouth manages to sound familiar without being overly derivative. They also manage to sing about the struggles of the working man without using lazy clichés. The lyrics are great and the music sounds great too. They do blue collar Oi about as well as any band in recent memory. If you’re into this style of punk (and you should be), you need to check out Jonesy’s War.