Tchernobyl, Cran, Claimed Choice and others: Record Reviews

Abdul Bleach Boy, who used to do the bulk of our Record Roundups, has been incommunicado lately, i.e. off social media and doesn’t reply to messages. Maybe he’s going through some kind of spiritual crisis – hope not. Instead of a more comprehensive Record Roundup, then, here’s just a few reviews of vinyl that people have sent me, above all the continuously excellent Une Vie Pour Rien, once the best Oi zine and a big influence on Creases Like Knives, now the best Oi/punk label. Plus some random picks I came across over the past few months.

If you want to send us vinyl for review, contact us at creaseslikeknives [at] We don’t normally review digital files sent to us. Cheers!

Matt Crombieboy

Tchernobyl: Face au mur 7’’ EP
(Une Vie Pour Rien)

I wrote quite a bit about this Paris band’s previous releases, and although my reviews were thoroughly positive, I imagine a few things I said may have annoyed the band: persistent invocations of Brutal Combat, for instance – a key influence that Tchernobyl have long since transcended. It would probably be unfair at this point to liken their music to what I described as Brutal Combat’s “moronic, leaden Oi”. Yes, there’s a certain relentless uniformity to the basic structures, but within the rigid form there’s space for ideas and innovation. As time moves on, Tchernobyl immerse themselves deeper in what our guest writer Andrea Napoli has called the ‘Oi wave‘ and others have dubbed ‘cold Oi‘. Some of the sounds – e.g. the guitar lead in the chorus of ‘Unis‘ – even convey a Goblin-like vintage soundtrack feel, though Sisters of Mercy or Joy Division may be more obvious points of reference (unless you’re a French cold wave expert, which I’m not). Tchernobyl subtly expand the boundaries of the genre, losing perhaps some of the rawness of the 2019 demo in the process, but none of their hardness or severity. In a sense, they’re doing to French Oi what bands such as West Germany’s Razzia or Poland’s Armia were doing to hardcore punk when they infused it with bleakness in the second half of the 80s).

Continue reading

Paris on Oi!

French Oi has always had a special quality, hasn’t it? I first learned this when visiting family in my birth town Warsaw many moons ago and randomly buying a bootleg tape titled Son de la rue from a street market stall outside the Palace of Culture. It was the days of a flourishing black market, and on every street corner you’d find 4-Skins and Blitz pirate tapes democratically displayed alongside Metallica and Madonna ones. Son de la rue compiled some of the best cuts from the Chaos en France series – Komintern Sect, Snix, Camera Silens, you name it – and I’ve remained a fan of frog Oi ever since.

Continue reading