Dougie from 4ft Fingers is moving to Australia. Where this is an amazing thing for Dougie and his family it really sucks for big fans of 4ft Fingers like me. For me 4ft Fingers have been a massive influence in my current love of underground punk rock, they were one of the very first bands from the scene I ever really listened to. I still remember getting their second album Hero To Zero from the Plastichead Records mail-order catalogue on the basis of liking the cover art. Happily I love Hero To Zero so I went an brought their debut album At Your Convenience. For me At Your Convenience is one of the best punk rock albums ever and still brings a massive smile to my face whenever I listen to it. As a bit of a celebration to one of the most important bands in my life I go back at review At Your Convenience.
The album kicks off with the classic (a word I might use a few times in this review) Brickwall. The song is perfect for starting the album the off in the right way. It’s a fast and fun skate punk anthem that will have you singing along in no time at all. Listening back now as a more mature(ish) I can hear all sort of great musicianship from the bands engine room, especially some really intricate bass lines. The next song One For The Road is a great punk rock drinking anthem. It’s the sort of song that will make you want to put your arm around whoever is near you and scream along with the chorus. Track three Pictures starts out with some excellent guitar riffs that really grab your attention from the beginning. The song screams intensity throughout with lead vocalist Rob’s voice seemingly more serious than the jovial style from the opening two song. Slowly Sinking is another more serious song that sees’s the band venture into the world of politics. The band takes a stand against MPs and politicians who are liars and only seem to be looking out for themselves. It’s quite scary and disappointing that the song is as relevant today as it was in 2001 when it was first released. Killing Time is a more upbeat number and sees add an element of ska to their sound. It’s about that one friend that everyone has, that guy you only really ever spend any time with if nobody else is around. (If you don’t have one then it might be you) I really love how the band switch between ska for the verses and then go all out skate punk for the chorus, complete with some fantastic harmonies.
The sixth track Coffee Grinder also mixes some ska guitar with some skate punk. The band is showing fantastic ability and songwriters and musicians to seamlessly jump between two genres of music. My Song is a song that every punk rocker could relate to. It’s about being on a night out with your friends, probably visiting some kind of popular establishment, asking the DJ to play your favourite song and having to wait for a long time to hear it. Drunkenville is another classic 4ft Fingers song. Like One For The Road it’s a fun punk rock drinking song, all about drinking to get away from the bad things in life. I always find it kind of ironic that some of my favourite songs are about getting drunk even though I have been sober for my entire life. The gang vocals towards the end of the song are excellent and give that fantastic feeling of everyone being in it together, I big reason of why I love punk rock as a culture. The classic 4ft Fingers tracks continue with Hopeless Romantic. This is a full on ska punk song complete with horns and an incredibly skankable beat. Having seen the band a few times I can say from my experiences that this is one of the tracks that get’s everyone in the room dancing.
The tenth song Learn To Survive is the song that’s really grown on me the most on the album. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised just how good this song is. Returning to a more serious punk sound Learn To Survive is all about teaching yourself how to be a grown up without ever really being given any sort of training, how sometimes it can be hard but if you stand up for what you believe in then you’ll be fine. Broken Bones is another song in a similar skate punk sound. The song starts out with some furious drumming that makes you believe that something big is coming. The band blasts through two verse’s and a couple of choruses before getting a nice long musical interlude before finishing up with a big finale of a repetitive chorus and some excellent, Bad Religionesque harmonies. The penultimate song Sense Of Direction for me is THE classic 4ft Fingers track. A staple of their live set due to the brilliant simple la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, OI, OI, Oi! This get’s everyone singing and smiling live, and if for some unknown reason you’re not a fan of the band you will be after this song. What I really love about the song though is the positive message about having the courage to speak up and say what’s on your mind. It’s amazing to me that such a amazing message can come out of what on the surface is just a bit of a silly song. The original version of At Your Convenience finishes with the song Goodbye Good Luck. This is a break up song, and something again easily relatable (sadly) for too many people. They finish the album just how they started it, fast and furious punk rock which is fantastic to sing along to.
At Your Convenience really is a timeless classic for me. Even after all this years on listening to it consistently I still get excited hearing the songs and still smile and sing along. I don’t know where 4ft Fingers will get mentioned in the list of all time greatest UK punk bands, I’m not in charge of the list, however if I was they would certainly appear very close to the top of the list. For me 4ft Fingers are legends in our brilliant little scene.
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Now listening to We Had A Pact by Creeper