By The Drastics
It wouldn't be too far fetched to say that the last 15/20 or so CDs I have reviewed on various different formats helped contribute to a brief and recent exile from 'music journalism'. Having to trawl through mountains and mountains of sub-average "Bush is a bad man" and "we take drugs" shit just to find the odd gem was becoming a rather tedious and profoundly boring and avoidable exercise. At the risk of sounding ancient, it's fairly obvious that guitar music plummeted to new depths and originality sunk to an all time low around 2008, small crumbs of comfort usually being found in those from further shores with Vampire Weekend being the main example of a forward thinking yet startlingly simple band with great ideas and a natural ability to evolve around them. Yet my apathy almost resulted in even them being discarded within a flash. I had become everything I hate. A boring old sanctimonious tosser.
Then something magical happened. I got into chart music and my ear for simplicity returned within ten minutes of a channel hop through MTV Hits. I became happy.
So I'm here again and it seems like The Drastics were waiting for me all along, although choosing a standard punk CD entitled 'Fuck Romance' would suggest I've left myself teetering ever so closely over the edge and in grave danger of relapse. Musically, it's instantly recognisable and all the modern punk clich?are here...songs about having to go to work and subsequently wishing your life away ("10 hours to work through the day/ these ten hours won't go away"), songs about what happens once the working week is over (ahem, "it's Friday night and I'm going out tonight"), more songs about what happens once the working week is over ('Drinkin' Solid') and strangely, a song about Derrick Bird, the taxi driver responsible for mass murder in Whitehaven last year ('Never Trust a Taxi Driver'). As simplicity is the key word here, I'll make it easy for you. It's more Green Day (I can see the punk authenticity's cringing) than Ramones, musically at least. Think short, sharp two minute bursts of the Insomniac era stuff with a Northern James Hetfield singing after 40 fags.
Having been critical of such bland lyrical content in the past, here it's important to point out that these four punkmeisters do make very listenable and almost endearing music. There's no songs about "fighting queers" or being embroiled in late-60s drug culture when in fact you were born in 1992. It's safe and personal. Asda tea bags to Earl Grey. Nice enough and it'll do but you're yearning for a bit more. Like opening a packet of 1995 Premier League stickers and hoping for Alan Shearer, Peter Schmeichel and a Man Utd shiny yet ending up with Jason Wilcox, Jeff Kenna and an Everton Shiny.
I've still got 14 Peter Beagrie swaps if anybody wants them?