Being ‘punk before punk’ is quite a claim for a band, especially one in
the “I’m sorry, who?” category.
But have a listen to this, look at the years said band were operational
and consider this: Iggy only beat them to it by a year or two,
and the Ramones were nowhere in sight, let alone the Clash et al. In 1971,
Detroit proto-punk trio Death (the best named band ever)
stomped forth with their no frills, raucous, musical insolence – clattering tin can drums,
neckbending guitar and gives-a-fuck vocals, paving the way for the likes
of The Damned, The Buzzcocks, and later the hardcore scene.
This record is packed with crunchy, snot-nosed punk, with the odd
bluesy bass line and psychedelic riff – Death drawing on their influences and carving sharp, new, lasting impressions.
This is definitely one of the best bands you’ve never heard of.
And before long we arrive at the final evertrack on the final ever Streets album, which is quite sad.
‘Lock The Locks’ is as poignant as you’d hope it to be from a man who once gave us ‘Stay Positive’ and ‘Weak Become Heroes’.
Thinly veiled behind a first hand account of quitting an office job and packing an anonymous desk into a box, Skinner defends his quitting by rapping,
“Even though to most it looked random/my heart had left/I was going
It’s the only track that references The Streets’ retirement, and it’s more matter-offact than it is sombre – the beats and reggaetinged guitars are positively upbeat.
It’s a powerful parting shot, and ‘Computers & Blues’ is a fine memento from a real game-changer
At the other end of the scale, down where the likes of 2008’s disappointing ‘Everything Is Borrowed’ stews in its misguided, commercial vibes, are tracks like the almost passable ‘Roof of Your Car’ (a song so breezily
aware of its own organ pop heart that it’s most likely to be the album’s lead single),
the even more annoyingly chipper ‘Without A Blink’ and the plainly
sickening ‘Blip On A Screen’, throughout which Skinner expresses his love for a foetus on a scan.
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