Th' Inbred - Legacy of Fertility (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Th' Inbred

Legacy of Fertility (2009)

Alternative Tentacles

Back in the 1980s, I clearly remember seeing adverts for th' Inbred in fanzines like MRR and Flipside, whilst also noticing that their records were on display in my local record shop as well. Somehow, though, they were one of the bands that I never got 'round to listening to. That all changed last year when I noticed this CD on one of the various websites associated with Welly (Artcore ‘zine) as he has provided the extensive liner notes to this 36-track compilation, bringing together one EP, two albums (A Family Affair and Kissin' Cousins) and three unreleased songs.

Given that I have a high regard for Welly's views, I got hold of a copy of the CD (this is actually available as two LPs if you'd prefer a vinyl fix) and after just one play felt the need to kick myself for not having gotten hold of the original records when they were originally released.

Th' Inbred were a hardcore band from West Virginia that had the ability to write songs that were full of social commentary linked to their immediate surroundings, but that also showed a political awareness much akin to that which the Dead Kennedys were displaying during the 1980s. This is while injecting chunks of humour into songs whilst still being able to convey a message. Add to that the fact that they were not just content to play straight-on hardcore (they liked to include a bit of jazz or just an odd time change here and there to mix it up a bit); they came across as a hybrid of the DKs, the Rhythm Pigs, the Big Boys and Really Red. Quite an impressive quartet of bands to be likened to, but Th' Inbred's music certainly has stood the test of time–even with some of the lyrics maybe being a bit outdated, this has elements that are relevant to life in 2011 as much as providing a history lesson in respect of how things were during the Reagan/Thatcher years.

It's really an impressive collection of songs, and even if the six-track EP had been the only recording they'd left us with, it would have made a impact on the world of punk, featuring a pre-"MTV Get Off the Air" song in "eMpTVy", along with other caustic attacks on a variety of targets. Specifically, throughout their existence they were not afraid to criticize the punk scene from which they were spawned with songs like "Scene Death" and "Hardcore Inc." that even in the mid-'80s saw that many were only interested in making money from the punk scene or just creating an environment that was purely superficial and temporary. How many bands would have songs like "Jesus Youth" and "Satan Youth" next to each other on a release?

In terms of the history of the band, one cannot do any better than read the liner notes included or seek out the interview featured in Artcore back in 1990. Both provide a great insight into the band and give some useful background into their existence. Musically, this sounds as if it might have been produced in the new millennium, not sounding as if it had been recorded with a tinny production quality which is something that afflicted many bands of the time (has it been remixed?). I might be a latecomer to th' Inbred but at least I've managed to catch up with a band that has excited me from the first track I heard. A band that even now deserves some attention.