The fantastic debut by the Audio Bullys fuses a misspent youth fuelled by nights...
Jack Smith 2003
Fresh from scoring a number 15 hit with "We Don't Care", Simon Franks and Tom Dinsdales release their debut album Ego War. Billed as the sound of the suburbs, the two twenty-somethings grew up raving to the basslines of jungle, garage and hip-hop, and acknowledge the influence of the Specials, Kinks and Beatles as readily as they do Todd Edwards and Masters At Work.
Ego War draws on their many influences resulting in a style that's best described as dance music with the laddish charm of Squeeze or Madness. "Real Life" sums up the same breathless explosion of urban pop energy of the Happy Mondays "Wrote For Luck" or the Specials' "Too Much Too Young". But wrapped up in basslines born out of a misspent youth fuelled by nights partying at illegal raves and come downs eased by the sound of the pirates.
The Audio Bullys are no London music industry lab rats, and are proof that the capital's suburbs are a breeding ground for bored music obsessed youth. Their lyrics reflect young urban life: micro sagas of street corners and party politics, and do for West London's less glamorous suburbs what Paul Weller did for Woking, and lob the same grenades the Damned chucked at Croydon.
Musically there's the attitude of punk (check the rebellious rabble rousing blast of f-off energy of "We Don't Care"), the earthiness of ska mixed with funk ("The Snow"), and moody majestic reference points of bygone eras; "The Things" owes more to 60s soundtracks of John Barry than the garage beats of this millennium. While "I Go To Your House" might be the nearest they come to a love song, dealing with refreshingly honesty suburban dating politics and romance.
In this recycle-or-be-damned society the Audio Bullys are taking things quite literally. Two kids who pay homage to the past, by taking it forward, and throw the genre rulebook to the wind with hip-hop, garage and in-your-face punk attitude sitting comfortably side-by-side.