The Arteries / The Cut Ups - Split [7 Inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Arteries / The Cut Ups

The Arteries / The Cut Ups: Split [7 Inch]

Split [7 Inch] (2009)

SWFU


4.5
The UK punk scene has, over the course of the last couple of decades, continually produced bands of the very highest caliber; however, because the UK has always lacked a punk-centric label with the financial clout of the likes of Epitaph or Fat Wreck, so many of them have had short lifespans and gar...

The UK punk scene has, over the course of the last couple of decades, continually produced bands of the very highest caliber; however, because the UK has always lacked a punk-centric label with the financial clout of the likes of Epitaph or Fat Wreck, so many of them have had short lifespans and garnered little attention.

In spite of this, great bands continue to appear, as both the Arteries and the Cut Ups have illustrated over the course of the last five years with two of the best debut albums in recent memory: Paris Street in Ruins (the Cut Ups) and Blood, Sweat & Beers (the Arteries), respectively.

The prospect of both of these bands joining forces is thus an appealing one--two quality bands both still at the top of their game contributing new songs for a limited edition split release; what could possibly go wrong? Not much.

The Arteries' contributions are both furiously energetic. "Shitty Band" sounds like Zeke: the speed of punk rock paired with all the riffage of rock'n'roll. Miles has never been this angry before: "I'd just like to scar your pretty face...you're just a shitty band and you're giving me a headache" he screams.

He's calmed down by "Mutual Friends," though, which charts more familiar territory; it's more Millencolin than Motörhead. And rather than slashing shitty bands, Miles gets a touch nostalgic this time: "There's no place I'd rather be than here" he sings. Perhaps he's bipolar?

The Cut Ups' songs mark a change in pace, the mid-tempo "Torches" a dose of their now familiar brand of Billy Bragg-, Bouncing Souls- and Leatherface-infused punk rock. Curtis' lyricism is here as good as it has ever been. On the short but sweet "Billy Ocean Blue," he reflects on what it means to be a man in a patriarchal society, and then on "Sainte Tomass" poignantly critiques the war machine: "Is there any hoping that guns will not be heard again?" he asks, "while wars are still caused by old men and not the soldiers lost."

There's no doubt about it--this is UK punk rock at its best, all without the support of large indie labels, endorsements or anything else. It's just two bands doing it for the love of doing it. They say punk rock is dead, but on these five songs, its spirit is alive and kicking.