Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Album Review: Last Songs by Bangers (by Emma Prew)

It had been rumoured for a little while, and has now been officially confirmed, that Cornish punks, Bangers, are breaking up. As one of my very favourite British punk bands, I was and still am a little bit distraught. Before they go, they have one final live show for Specialist Subject’s first all-dayer at The Lexington in London on Saturday 20th August (presumably headlining it!). A show not to be missed – woo Specialist Subject / wah Bangers!

Last Songs is a two-track release of – yeah, you guessed it – Bangers’ last ever songs. You can stream and download the songs now. Plus you can pre-order Last Songs on a one sided 7" – complete with fold out poster sleeve, which features a painting of the band by Jamie Morrison (see my Art of Punk feature for some of his other work).

The first song is called There Was A Positive Vibe (When No One Was Left Alive) and it kicks off in true Bangers style with Roo’s gruff almost-aggressive vocals. Musically, it begins with a fairly melancholic tone which seems appropriate really given the circumstances, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Before the song reaches the one minute mark there’s an awesome guitar riff, a funky (yes, I used the word ‘funky’ – like the genre of music) bass line and pounding drums. The track features some guest vocals from Kelly Kemp and El Morgan, which compliments Roo’s throaty voice wonderfully as they sing ‘Uh-oh, uh-ohh, There was a positive vibe.’ It feels quite different to many of Bangers’ previous songs, but retains whatever essence it is that makes me love them so much.

Walking on the Ground, the second and literally last song on Last Songs, starts immediately where There Was A Positive Vibe left off – seamlessly. And Bangers do it once again; you think the song is going one way – with angry, loud and gloomy guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place in a metal band – but then they switch things up and the song changes completely. The anger and the volume is still there but in less of a negative way – more in a punk rock fist-in-the-air ‘yeah!’ kind of way. There’s a big sing/shout-a-long opportunity with the lyrics ’Cut me down to size, Cut me down to size.’ repeated over and over. I expect everyone at The Lexington to be singing along to those words, as they probably won’t ever get another opportunity.

These ‘last songs’ don’t sound forced and they certainly don’t sound like the band was scraping around the barrel for their last ever release. Both songs are really great and it’s such a shame that there won’t be any more. Bangers are a band that will be dearly missed by me personally but also by the British punk rock scene in general.

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