Subhumans - The Day The Country Died (Cover Artwork)


The Day The Country Died (1983)


The Subhumans are deservingly one of the most well known political groups from the 80s. Among hundreds of other groups including the likes of Crass, Conflict, and Discharge, they stood unique in the aspect that they didn't depend totally on the music (Discharge) or the vocals (Crass), creating a perfect balance of sonic bliss not usually found on non-Oi British political albums.

The lyrical superiority in both substance and delivery alone puts them head and shoulders above the average "three chords and a lot of heart" bands that cluttered up the music scene. Vocalist Dick, who brandishes a Johnny Rotten-ish voice is probably one of the single best singers of the era, right up there with Steve Ignorant. The band as musicians themselves are not too shabby... The guitarist and bassist both seem to emulate a fuzzier sounding East Bay Ray/Klaus Flouride approach.

"The Day the Country Died" is one of, if not THE, best political albums ever released. From the frantic opener "All Gone Dead", to the ultra depressing poetry of "Black and White", not even the supposed "filler" tracks like "Zyclone-B-Movie" stand in the way of this being a great album... All 16 tracks have the potential to be stuck in your head at any point of the day after listening to this only once.

As stated before, the lyrics are simply some of the greatest ever... The only exception being "Ashtray Dirt", an anti-cigarrette song, but that's excusable since it's as poetic as the theme will allow before reaching artsy pretention, and is more than made up for in classics such as "Mickey Mouse is Dead" and "Dying World".

So, what does this political band cover? All of the usual suspects, and then some. "No" is a pretty good lyrical example of where this band is going, with the opening line of "No, I don't believe in Jesus Christ, my mother died of cancer when I was five. No, I don't believe in religion, I was forced to go to church and I wasn't told why. No, I don't believe in the police force, police brutality isn't a dream." Not only does this band show contempt for an obviously corrupt and unbalanced system, but also for the society that is its backbone... The catchiest, yet most lyrically haunting song on the album is the famous "Mickey Mouse is Dead", which starts with a stomp and quickly explodes into sonic terror. Even without the singing, you could picture what this band was trying to get across through the pure musical intensity alone. The lyrics concern childrens' loss of innocence due to situations out of their control, among other things.

Over all, this album, or CD, is nothing short of amazing... Definitely an essential purchase for all those who are into UK82 or political punk.