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Punks Not Dead

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Punks Not Dead
Studio album by The Exploited

Publish-
ment(s)

1981

Label(s) Secret Records, The Exploited Record Company, Poko International, Roadrunner Records, Intercord

Format(s)

LP, MC

Genre(s)

Punk

Title (number)

15

Length

37:33

Cast
  • Wattie: Lead vocals
  • Big John: guitar, vocals
  • Gary: Bass, Vocals
  • Dru Stix: drums, vocals
  • Carole & Navi: Background vocals

Production

Dave Leaper, The Exploited

Chronology
– — Punks Not Dead On Stage
(live album, 1981)

Punks Not Dead is the debut album by British band The Exploited.

Title list

  1. Punks Not Dead – 1:51 (J. Duncan)
  2. Mucky Pup – 1:43 (Puncture Cover)
  3. Cop Cars – 1:53 (G. Campbell/J. Duncan/G. McCormack)
  4. Free Flight – 3:34 (G. Campbell/J. Duncan)
  5. Army Life – 2:39
  6. Blown to Bits – 2:37 (J. Duncan)
  7. Sex and Violence – 5:09 (J. Duncan)
  8. S.P.G. – 2:07 (J. Duncan)
  9. Royalty – 2:06 (J. Duncan)
  10. Dole Q – 1:50 (J. Duncan)
  11. Exploited Barmy Army – 2:28 (G. Campbell/J. Duncan/G. McCormack)
  12. Ripper – 2:03 (J. Duncan)
  13. Out of Control – 2:53 (J. Duncan)
  14. Son of a Copper – 2:39 (J. Duncan)
  15. I Believe in Anarchy – 2:01 (J. Duncan)

Music style and lyrics

Morat, the author of the band’s online biography, wrote that Punks Not Dead was “as much a rallying battle cry as a record”.[1] Rainer Schmidt of Rolling Stone wrote of Wattie Buchan that no one had a “more beautifully battered voice” than he. The band played relentlessly, and the album was “second-generation stalwart outcry against the supposed disintegration of the punk scene.” The band “cried out against war and poverty, decadence and the prevailing order.”[2] Johnny Loftus of Allmusic called the album a reaction to the “punk ‘establishment’ of the time”[3]Jan Jaedike of Rock Hard as a necessary “slap in the face of all the heroes of the first punk wave who had migrated towards pop, new wave and major label loyalty”[4]. The title song is considered the answer to Punk Is Dead from the debut album The Feeding of the 5000 by the English anarcho-punk band Crass.[4]

Reception

Punks Not Dead reached number 20 in the UK charts and sold 150,000 copies. Morat wrote that if punk was dead, no one in the band’s growing “Barmy Army” had said so. Punk’s Not Dead was admittedly not the best record ever made, but as an opening gambit it was unbeatable.[1] Loftus referred to songs like S.P.G., Out of Control and I Believe in Anarchy as early templates of future US hardcore. The album had been acclaimed and reviled. This was fine with the band, who merely wanted a reaction.[3] Rolling Stone ranked the album number 28 in its list of the 50 most important punk albums. Schmidt wrote: “Songs like ‘I Believe In Anarchy’ and ‘Exploited Barmy Army’ became anthems of rage and despair in the Thatcher years.” The fact that “National Front supporters came out as fans years later” could not have been foreseen at the time and “does not diminish the significance of this great throw”.[2] Jaedike, on the other hand, classified the album as “not really necessary.” It was “[n]aturally […] a necessary slap in the face of all the heroes of the first punk wave who had migrated towards pop, new wave and major label obedience”, and “of course” the title track, Cop Cars, Army Life and I Believe in Anarchy were classics that “still turn up in the live programme today”, but the “£600 production” sounded powerless, had “a barely there guitar sound and pretty small balls”. Buchan may have been more than 20 years old at the time, but he sounds “like a wayward teenager”. In addition, the album contains “various tracks that nobody cares about today”, the low point being Sex and Violence, “with its three words of lyrics (yes, that’s right: ‘sex and violence’) one of the stupidest songs in the band’s history”. Every later release of the band plays “at least two leagues higher”. If a purchase “had to be made at all”, the best version would be the re-release of Captain Oi! from 2001.[4]

Individual references

  1. a b Morat:The Exploited History.The Exploited, January 2003, accessed February 27, 2015 (English).
  2. a b Rainer Schmidt: The Exploited. Punk’s Not Dead. In: Rolling Stone. Axel Springer Mediahouse Berlin GmbH, Berlin July 2011, p. 62.
  3. a b Johnny Loftus:Punks Not Dead – The Exploited.Allmusic, retrieved 31 January 2015 (English).
  4. a b c Jan Jaedike: Dissecting Table. The Exploited. In: Rock Hard. No. 332, January 2015, p. 93.