Apparently, punks no longer following the nihilistic footsteps of Darby Crash, Johnny Thunders, Wendy O. Williams, and, of course, Sid Vicious, passing on as a result of a Molotov cocktail consisting of those three main ingredients, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.
One of GG Allin’s crudely tattooed mottoes, “live fast, die…” must be passé in this age of comfort-enhancing, integrity-degrading electronic devices an a “universal online community.” The Stratford Mercenaries are made up of old(er) blokes from CRASS and (according to the press release) a part-time Buzzcock (what did he play, tambourine?), and sort of dispel the myth of aged musicians forgetting how to rock. Good ol’ Steve Ignorant still has that cockney brogue intact from the Penis Envy days, and the songs contain within display an actual range of styles, from the straight-up old-school English punk of “No More Running,” to the mid-tempo groove of “Where is Love?” to the mellow balladry of “Sunday Morning Neighbours”. Something muyst be said for having been around the block a few times, because these veterans pull off a dangerous record devoid of pretension and posturing. The addition of keyboards also proves to be positive, as featured on “Where is Love?”
While I didn’t exactly find myself jumping up and down at how exciting and amazing the actual songs are, as I might do to, say, the new No Use For a Name record, it was a refreshing listen, akin to bathing with Irish Spring, that has the ability to provoke further playing.