Johnny back to a alternative reality Clapham where “Sham 69 never united the kids”
Louis Pattison 2008-10-24
It's easy to imagine Johnny Rotten hearing a chorus like I've got love/Got so much love in my heart/And this feeling, I can't let it go and immediately trying to stimulate his gag reflex. For such a chorus to crop up on the new album by Hackney's The King Blues, mind, says a fair bit about where punk finds itself in 2008. Touting a brand of punk rock that's sonically reminiscent of NOFX, a scrubbed-up Rancid, and the political balladeering of Billy Bragg, there's not much that’s obviously Year Zero to songs like I Got Love and For You My Darling. That's not to say, though, that The King Blues are totally ignorant of their forefathers. Described by frontman Johnny 'Itch' Fox as "the story of a protestor that falls in love on the front line", Save The World Get The Girl mixes up drop-out politics with anthemic punk and a fair few love songs that verge on sappy but inevitably squirm out with a twist of humour – or something tangier: "Kiss me underneath this lamppost light/I know it smells of piss but/You look beautiful tonight" sings Fox on Underneath This Lamppost Light. There's some pretty rollicking moments scattered here, like the Dead Kennedys-inspired Let's Hang The Landlord or The Schemers, The Scroungers And The Rats, a scummy punk rabble-rouser with added banjo that recalls something of the Pogues' toothless good fun. Other times, you're left wondering if this is a formula just a little too watered down. Their heart, though, is in the right place – check earnest spoken-word closer What If Punk Never Happened, where Doc Brown from Back To The Future spirits Johnny back to a alternative reality Clapham where “Sham 69 never united the kids” (a sad tale, as you might expect).