U.K. Subs - 'Work In Progress' (Captain Oi!) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Thursday, 20 January 2011 05:00

uksubs176About bloody time. After waiting for what seems like an eternity for Charlie and the gang to release a new album it has finally arrived. We all know about the A-Z attempt, well those observant enough to notice Charlie has now hit W so that only leaves us three more Subs albums and the rate it's taken this one to come out I'll be as old as Charlie Harper by the time we reach Z.


Anyway I digress, this long awaited release comes firing out of the starting blocks with the awesome 'Creation' which came out a few years ago as part of the 'Warhead' EP that promoed a few new tracks and out of those tracks t'was the new ones that got me excited because tracks like 'Creation' sounded like a band on fire and full of energy. Although reworked for this album the track loses none of its fire and Mr Harper sounds in mighty fine voice. With Jamie Oliver's thunderous drumming and the solid work of the magnificent Alvin Gibbs with Jet playing the Les Paul Jr like his life depends on it, this really is a great start to the album and the makings of an essential release. 


A gap of eight years between this and 'Universal' is way too long but the quality of the songs on this can excuse the wait. Who's to say this won't be regarded in future as possibly the best album the band have done. Before people stop reading and accuse me of being stupid, sure 'Another Kind Of Blues' had some awesome songs on it as did 'Brand New Age' and 'Diminished Responsibilities' and a host of albums thereafter but I honestly believe 'Work In Progress' might be the UK Subs' most complete album with quality songs aplenty. I guess time will tell but initial thoughts suggest I could be right. Just take 'Tokyo Rose' with its blistering guitar solo over some sumptuous walking bassline as Charlie goes for a poptastic catchy chorus on this love song, yes I said love song, and a sort of geography lesson from Japan as well, it really is a catchy tune. Before you think the Subs have gone soft, hold onto your trousers because 'Hell Is Other People' sounds like it's been kicked around the beer soaked venues it was crafted in with some great punk rock action, or take the acidic 'Radio Unfriendly' with some quality social commentary from Harper that hits the nail right square on the head. Payola, shit stations playing garbage round the clock, so fuckin' what, right? Punk rock 'n' roll never got a fair crack of the whip when it came to airplay and, no Charlie, it's not you getting old and cranky some of us are right behind you and if we were all on a level playing field where the cream would get the airplay and the strong would survive and get the financial rewards then there is no doubt the UK Subs would be on heavy rotation with this release.


The powerhouse line-up of Gibbs, Jet, Oliver and Harper have a hefty back catalogue to compete with, they create their own pressure and have a lot to live up to, but live up to it they do. Sing along to the "woah-oh" on 'The Axe' or just groove to 'Eighteen Wheels' with its 'Pipeline' riff that sees the Subs strut their stuff with Jet turning in some great playing which he carries on into the next track 'Children Of The Flood' with its wah-wah intro and jagged riff, Charlie delivers his doomsday hypothesis but it's not all bleak as 'All Blurs Into One' shifts gears as we get Jamie on guitars for what is in my book the real tour de force of the album and a musical masterpiece as the song changes pace throughout and could be one of the finest songs crafted by a band on killer form as we head into the thrashfest of the final few minutes of the song - simply magnifico, great lyrics to a great song. 'Rock 'n' Roll Whore' falls straight off the Heartbreakers conveyer belt as the Subs add a sneaky bit of 'Chinese Rocks' while Charlie tells tales of excess in the US; another winner in my book and possibly the best song The Boys never wrote, yeah it's a bit throwaway after 'Children Of The Flood' but fuck me it feels good listening to it and isn't that part of the appeal of rock 'n' roll? If it makes you feel good?


Something of a triumph is 'Work In Progress' - it has the feelgood factor aplenty and the sound of a band who damn well know they've written a top album and if I were a punk rock pig listening to this I'd be rolling in a pen full of punk rock shit! Punk rock royalty kicks off 2011 with a right stonker of an album crammed full of great songs and it has definitely been worth the wait. All hail the UK Subs - buy it and play it loud, you won't regret it.