I find it incredibly refreshing when I chance across young bands in 2017 picking up the baton from the likes of The Stooges, The MC5, Black Flag, Nirvana, Fugazi, The Make Up and Jon Spencer Group and doing that noble tradition proud. Not merely by imitating their forbears, but actually in succeeding in pushing things onwards in terms of their own creativity, energy, emotion and sheer firepower.I know I sound like a seen it all and slightly stuffy fifty one year old, but still! This band make me feel younger than that and I'm grateful.
American two-piece '68 and their second album Two Parts Viper had that effect on me yesterday. It's a brilliantly inspiring record that makes you want to go straight back to the beginning again once the final track winds towards its end just like all great records do. Punk, in its purest form was always about something and '68 understand this only too well. It's a long time since I've heard such a fiercely committed, political new record.
In this respect they're aptly named. 1968 after all was the most politically furious year of the twentieth century. And as with those on the barricades during that year, frontman Josh Scogin has a wonderful way with slogans. The titles of the songs of Two Parts Viper are just great: Eventually We All Win; This Life is Old, New, Borrowed & Blue; No Montage; The Workers Are Few; Death is a Lottery. Under the Paving Stones the Beach. Oh sorry! That last one's not one of their's.
You get the idea anyhow. And the songs more than live up to their billings. Fast, furious, soulful and packed with energy, invective and righteous intent. And while the spirit of Kurt hovers over most things here, (in terms of Without Any Words quite eerily so, there's even a reference to the Neil Young lyric in the suicide note), it's rather as if Kurt had decided to join the MC5 rather than Nirvana and what a wonderful idea that sounds on Two Parts Viper. Ten songs. Ten calls to arms.Ten Manifestos for the moments in life when you need them. '68 deserve a place in the line of heroes I mentioned above. And best of all, they're with us now!