As a Punk Prospect virgin I was dreading my first review in case I was given a lemon, a wet lettuce or a damp squib, whatever that is. Luckily for me I was asked to review Before The Fall by The Vindickers. I'm not saying I struck gold or even found a diamond in the rough but what I have discovered is a band of 70’s punk style with a modern twist and a great sense of humour thrown in for good measure. They’re a refreshing change from your common as muck copy cat pop punk band that lurk around every corner these days.
The album opens strongly with songs about love, relationships and
rumour spreading and back stabbing in the work place. It has a feel of
“we know three chords and we’re gonna use them” but that’s no problem, Green Day have done it for years and Status Quo even longer. The album flows well with a mix of fast and slow songs, and it’s always good to find a few Ska riffs in a punk song - these boys know their roots.One of my favourite tracks 'I Wanna Be a Geek' takes the piss out of nerdy folk who play Role Playing Games and know way too much about Sci-Fi. Not being a geek myself (ahem) I had to look up many references especially about learning to speak LEET (or 1337 apparently), this being (according to good old Wikipedia) an alternative alphabet using mostly numbers or symbols to replace the standard letters. Sounds like a load
of 80110(X5 to me….
With a value for money track count of sixteen you’d expect a few album
fillers, but surprisingly there aren’t really any. Some songs are more
worthy than others but all play their part. Even the bizarre 'Bye Bye
Mama', a Country and Western song about a red neck killing his Mother isn’t out of place, being another piss take it fits in with the fun feel that runs through the album. Saying that though, there are many songs of a more serious note. 'Old Friend' tackles drug addiction and 'Home' is about financial difficulty and losing your, well, home. The end of the album is as strong as the beginning. the title track is an anthem in waiting and guaranteed to get the crowd waving lighters – err sorry I’m showing my age - waving mobiles and nodding their heads in unison. That runs into the final track, or should I say tracks, it’s like a well-known oil - 3 in 1. 'The Gen. Of Ease' would have been a brilliant track to end the album but the surprise is what follows. Sounding like a cover of an unknown Buzzcocks or Undertones song, 'Cuppa Tea' is The Vindickers own work about living on the dole which really takes this reviewer back to his youth and it doesn’t seem right that the best song in my opinion is “hidden”, but maybe that’s the point.
The final, final track took me even more by surprise. A club mix of 'The Gen. Of Ease', called 'The Gen of Peas', complete with Cher-like synthesised vocals. Another piss take and another sign of a band that are having fun, and luckily not a sign of things to come from this band. Still, it gives my Daughter a track to look forward to. If I had to make one criticism it would be that at times the vocals are too mellow. There's a need for an edge, some venom, some bite and I'm occasionally left wondering how a song would sound with a Billy Joe or a Fat Mike singing but hey, now I'm really nit picking! Before The Fall by The Vindickers is a great listen, it has an authentic feel without being dated. The changes in musical styles and mix of humorous to serious lyrics mean it never gets tired, so I give it 4/5. And if you’re interested, a damp squib is an event which people think will be exciting but which is disappointing when it happens.
So there you go.
Dave Bird - Punk Prospect
released November 2, 2012
Jme J - Vocals & guitar
Paul Daly - Bass
Jay Maplesden - Drums
Mixed and mastered by James Gulliver
Drums on "Bye Bye Mama" - James Gulliver
Saxophone on "Better Than Me" - Ian Hardy
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