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Abrasive Wheels: When the Punks Go Marching In

Reviewed By: Daniel Cressey
Label: Captain Oi
Format: CD

Re-released twenty-five years after its initial appearance in punk’s heyday, the most shocking thing about ‘When the Punks Go Marching In’ is how fresh it still sounds. Abrasive Wheels may not have been the most outstanding band of the era but their aggressive honesty means this is just as bright today as it must have been back then.

On tracks such as 'When the Punks Go Marching' the energy and drive shines, but there is a real sense of purpose as well. And the bleak anger of the time can also be found here. The venom with which they sing “Put Maggie Thatcher on the dole” is never going to be matched by a modern anti-Bush anger, fuelled as it is by not just a feeling of injustice but first-hand experience of the consequences of her policies.

There is a lighter side to the band, however, as well. Behind the shouting the sense of fun and a bunch of friends just messing around comes through. There are streaks of humour amidst the rage, as on the track BBC, which sees the Wheels berating “all the wankers at the BBC” who just “do fuck all, drinking cups of tea”, before admitting “You show us something to our delight: the John Peel show; but after midnight.”

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