Reviews

Review: The Martlet

Posted on October 12th, 2006 by The Subhumans

It’s been over 20 years since Vancouver punk outfit Subhumans put out an album of new material. What a bloody relief they still know how to do it, and what a surprise—the Subhumans are better than most at honest-to-goodness fuck-you punk.

Granted, you can hear the age on these guys. Their sound is clean in a dirty way, and solid as a swift boot to the throat from someone old enough to be your dad. Lead singer Brian “Wimpy-Roy” Goble yells about society’s ills in a way that is both raging and measured—not to mention sardonic—because, hell, they’ve been pissed off about pretty much the same stuff for decades.

Maybe it’s because every second album these days is a social commentary album, an “I’m-opposed-to-the-current-U.S.-administration-and-that’s-gonna-make-me-popular” album, that I was worried at first that the Subhumans were just following the herd with this disk. Give New Dark Age Parade, oh, four-and-a-half, five seconds and you’ll hear strains of Vancouver’s punk past, as well as a measured, unyielding critique of everything from celebrity to war to greed to homelessness. Somehow, all these issues become connected, almost indistinguishable, by the end of the album. As guitarist Mike Graham says, New Dark Age Parade constitutes “14 new attempts to make sense of what the world has become.” Jello Biafra also gets first acknowledgement in the liner notes, and that alone is enough to make a person want to listen to this album. Loudly.

Laurie Graham
The Martlet (University of VIctroia)
September 21st, 2006

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