Album Review: UK Subs – “Ziezo”
It’s been a hell of a long journey, that’s for sure. In the dying days of 1978 (a few months before your correspondent was born), The UK Subs released their debut album Another Kind Of Blues. Frontman Charlie Harper stated that his aim was for the band to release an album for each letter of the alphabet, and I’d be willing to bet that there were a few raised eyebrows at that statement at the time, given that a lot of punk bands’ careers were over by album number three if that.
Last laugh to Charlie though, as 38 years later 2016 sees the Subs completing their journey with Ziezo, and it’s a fitting end to their epic trek. It’s definitely a classic style UK Subs album with a mix of fast-paced old school punk (I’ve Got A Gun, World War III, Master Race) mixed in with the odd bit of glam swagger (I Don’t Care, Disclosure) and even the odd unexpected trick such as the ska-influenced City of The Dead and the metal style shredding from guitarist Jet on opener Polarisation, all backed up by Harper’s full-throated roar. He may now be in his seventies, but the guy’s still in fine fettle on this evidence – given that this year has seen Iggy hang up his bondage strides for good, frontmen like Charlie are becoming a disappearing breed and we should treasure them while we can.
The Subs have had their ups and downs over the years, and I was a bit worried about this one to be honest given that last year’s Yellow Leader album was a bit of a quality blip (not awful but just a bit unremarkable compared to past efforts), but they’ve definitely gone out on a high note if this really is their swansong.
The Subs have had their ups and downs over the years, but Ziezo is a good reminder of everything that made them one of punk's most under-rated bands, and is a fine way to sign their quest off. So, time for Charlie to quietly sit back in his armchair and enjoy his retirement then? Well, I wouldn't bet on it... a cursory glance at the Subs' Facebook page reveals that he's working on a new album with his other band The Urban Dogs (co-headed by Knox of The Vibrators). And you know something? Good for him.