Crophead Record Roundup #2

Keeping his ear close to the street, our incorruptible Abdul Bleach Boy is back to guide you through the latest batch of crophead-related releases. So put on your boots, splash on your Brut, and start stompin’.

Ultra Razzia: La Demo

Excellent francophone band from Montreal. It’s nothing terribly original (what is these days, though?), but it’s done to perfection. Hints of early Oi Polloi, Criminal Damage, Rixe, and perhaps a harder Syndrome 81. If you don’t love this you have no further use for your ears and should donate them to medical research. 9.5 our of 10

Enemy Fire: Bury Me in my Boots EP

Good, solid American Oi and streetpunk – I believe they are from Sacramento. Sorta in the vein of bands like very early Dropkick Murphys, Swingin’ Utters, and some of the more recent bands that appeared on Crowd Control Media’s Oi! Tapes. Good guitar work (which reminds me of Charged GBH in places – Editor), catchy sing-along choruses, and nothing too lyrically taxing with titles such as ‘40 oz Bounce’, ‘Cheers’ and the title track. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but an enjoyable 15 minutes of fun. It’s worth seeking out this band’s demo from a few years back, which I actually prefer. 7.5 out of 10

Petite: Demo 2017

I really enjoyed this one. Portland punk band that mixes street punk, Oi and female-fronted anarcho punk. An obvious comparison for geographical reasons would be Criminal Damage, but this lot are softer, less blitzish, less bleak. The vocalist reminds of George of the seriously underrated Action Pact or the girl from 1980s band Dan (anyone remember them? Does Trev Hagl even?). Musically, it’s more like Attak, Criminal Class, The Burial’s punkier stuff a la ‘Backstreet Child’ and The Strike. And as if to prove my point, they cover ‘Gang Warfare’. Great stuff. 8.5 out of 10

Syndrome 81/Urban Savage: Split EP

For various reasons, Blitz will always be the Oi band for me. The godfathers. Le grand fromage. And so on. However, in the last few years, the north of France has produced bands in a similar vein and every bit as good. Syndrome 81 are one of them (read our interview with them here). A magical, heady mix of brutality, dark industrial atmosphere, catchy hooks, stomp-along choruses, and – in the best possible sense – a gothic veneer. These are pure class and their side of the single is brilliant as ever.

On the flip, we have Sweden’s Urban Savage. I’ll have to throw my hands up and say I find this lot a bit hit and miss. Their first track is a real hardcore stormer with hints of Oi. The second number, meanwhile, is loud and heavy and ticks all the right boxes – but for some reason, it just doesn’t get my blood pumping. Still, the EP contains three excellent songs, including two of the best you’re going to hear this year. That’s why you need it. 10 out of 10.

Various Artists: Oi! GreekOi! Volume 2 LP

This compilation features the brilliant Seaside Rebels. And you know what, they’re one of the ‘worst’ bands on it. Yes, this comp is that good. Aside from them, most bands were totally new to me, and I wasn’t expecting a great deal – after all, so many comps have zero quality control now. This one, though, was consistently good to excellent track after track. Some of my faves were Stray Pack, Barfly, Broken glasses and Raw Riot. The sound is pretty much standard Oi throughout, though none the worse for that, and some bands veer more towards old UK hardcore or 77 punk. Great comp, just a shame so many people avoid non-anglophone music, which is why many of these bands will probably be overlooked. 9 out of 10

Squelette: Brisé (rough mix)

Early rough mix from a new Paris Oi band. This lot have been gigging alongside the likes of Rixe and Bromure, and while this track isn’t quite in the same league as those two bands (yet), it is bloody good. Old-school French Oi, sadly lacking sax, which possibly violates the European Convetion of Human Rights. They remind me of The Herberts, a more melodic Anti Patik, or some of the dodgier older stuff such as L’Infanterie Sauvage and Skinkorps. There’s some good live footage of this lot on YouTube. 7 out of 10

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