Punk Online

TOP OF THE PUNKS – ‘Volume 1’ Album Review


Top of the PunksReleased in June, Top Of The Punks – Volume 1 features tracks donated by Stiff Little Fingers, The Filaments, The Defects, Angelic Upstarts, Knock Off, Subculture (exclusive mix), 5 Go Mad (exclusive track), Hazard, UK Vomit, Born To Destruct, Jonny & The Mental Breakdowns, Wreck-Age, Wake The City, Apple Shift Seven (exclusive track), Spring Park and RT-Zed. Just 400 numbered CD packs (including badge and sticker) have been produced and are available to buy and it is also available to stream and download from the usual services courtesy of Cherry Red Records.

The album is an entirely DIY project by Simon Turner who was spurred on by a desire to try and help fellow mental health sufferers. Simon comments that “The response from the artists and people I’ve met along the way has been so amazing” and he is hoping to make Top Of The Punks a regular, annual event in the punk calendar.

The album opens with a live version of the excellent Stiff Little Fingers song released on their latest album focused on the fight that Jake Burns has had with depression. My Dark Places is strong on the recorded album and takes on a raw power live – SLF at their very best with some of the most direct lyrics ever delivered on the subject and the suffering that the disease produces. Mensi and the Angelic Upstarts contribute King Of The Rats a melodic punk rock anthem with a gritty edge and some great guitar work.

Apple Shift Seven lay up Bloodsuckers II sounding like a first wave punk rock effort and they are followed by Subculture and Hark Hark with a reggae infused soundscape that builds to an anthem like Oi-ish track. There are 16 tracks in all and the variety is excellent from the straight up energetic punk of 5 Go Mad to the ska rhythms/hardcore of Wreckage. This is a worthy album for a worthy cause and it puts a smile on your face when you realize that this is what the punk community is all about – helping each other up when we fall down. The excellent Round And Round by Knock Off spirals as the title suggests into your skull and Born To Destruct offer up We Bring The Noise channeling Cock Sparrer at their rabble-rousing best.

The Defects also cough up a live version of Traffic Island Castaway with its pounding drums, chunky guitars and melodic sing-along chorus. Get What You Want from RT-Zed has a glam rock meets punk ambiance and is followed by fast action of The Filament with Statistic. On Redeploy by Hazard we are treated to a five-minute-plus ‘fists in the air’ anthem whilst Wake The City try out some neat guitar licks on a psychobilly-esque Friend Zone with the female vocal a welcome addition to compilation.

The superbly named UK Vomit bring us Veto as a straight up UK82 punk rocker in the spirit of Peter & The Test Tube Babies. The penultimate track, Dark Side by Spring Park is a bouncy pop-punk ditty with some serious melody and hooks adding yet more variety to the package. Closing with Let’s Raise A Beer by Jonny & The Mental Breakdowns we are treated to an upbeat Oi! Rocker remembering the lonely, the unwanted and the departed…super life-affirming ending to a superbly curated compilation – get this one folks – your fellow punks will benefit!

Buy Top of the Punks – Volume 1 here: https://www.topofthepunks.co.uk/