Although this is not a new release, it is the latest offering from German Oi! mob the Stage Bottles, and a fine affair it is too.
Musically, the influence of The Blaggers, The Business and The Clash are all prominent in the mix, along with a hybrid ska-meets-X-Ray Spex sax, a dollop of Rancid gruffness and even The Jam in some of the bass and drum rhythms. It’s powerful, punchy stuff, well polished but with a raw street energy, no more apparent than in Olaf’s vocals. And the voice was made to match the words, of that there can be no doubt. Although the band are German, they sing in English and this adds lyrical interest to their songs. Trying to construct a socio-political polemic in something other than their mother tongue leads to a new kind of linguistic dexterity, a new perspective if you like, and is a welcome break from the monotonous misery of some of the more dreary and less imaginative anarcho-punk brigade.
Olaf, Easy, Kimba, Marcel, Till, April 2006 (© Stage Bottles)
The SB’s wear their credentials on their sleeves, no more so than when they’re belting out their anti-fascist anthems and reclaiming skinhead culture from the Nazi boneheads who’ve tried to infest the scene. ‘Real Skinhead’ puts the posers and losers firmly in their place, reminding them that ‘you’re not allowed to switch your brain off’ when you put on the boots and braces. ‘All You Need Is Hate’, ‘Hooligans’ and ‘Bad Boys’ continue to unashamedly put the substance into the style and the boot into where it hurts.
And their pro-prole position sees them just as happy to mix it up with the strait-jacketed Statist Left who condemn the straight-talking working class, even as they seek safety and protection behind the street-fighting hooligans who carry the spirit of revolution in their hearts and live it every day (‘PC Idiots’). ‘That’s Where It Comes From’ is a balladic reminder of those who’ve fought and died for us, something these pseudo-Reds wouldn’t know about. And I should imagine the fact that Olaf would ‘like to have rude sex’ (‘I Wanna Break Out’) will get up quite a few po-faced Stalinist noses too.
The corruption of society by capitalism is also tackled head on, with ‘Millions Of Stupid People’ condemning the herd-like mentality and ignorance of so many, while the remedy is proposed by the ‘New Flag’ of the album’s title – ‘So we’ve got to resist, we’ll build a new base, we’ve got to fight’ throwing down the challenge to our class straight and direct.
With a couple of tracks capturing the daily grind (‘I’ll Calm Down’) and how some of us escape from it (‘Punk & Disorderly’, ‘It’s Your Kid’s Life’), along with a singalong terrace chant that rails superbly against the money-men who are destroying our game as they fill their pockets (‘Kick Out The Parasites’) – ‘What about me, am I just a currency?’ asks Olaf, speaking out on behalf of every true fan – this is both uncontrolled fury and uninhibited fun of the finest kind.
Download sample track – ‘Real Skinhead’
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