ALBUM REVIEW: The Restarts – Uprising (Pirates Press Records)
The Restarts are a street-punk band formed in London in 1995, and this is their sixth studio album (not counting the splits they’ve made with Zero Tolerance, Fleas And Lice and Millions of Dead Cops).
As anyone who’s seen or heard them will guess, it’s a no-holds-barred collection of 12 tracks, blending relentless thrash, tuneful ska and good old-school punk rock.
Kieran Plunkett (bass and vocals) is the only original member left, and he and long-serving guitarist Robin Licker are joined in the latest line-up by new drummer Jeremy Hayat.
But while the personnel might have changed over the years, The Restarts’ sound and ethos haven’t. This is angry, politically-motivated music by a band who are punks first and musicians second.
When they’re not making music they spend their time helping to improve other people’s lives, and the injustices they come across help fuel their song writing.
Drawing upon Robin’s recent humanitarian work in Palestine, they tackle issues like the global denial of apartheid (the incendiary title track) and the plight of refugees in the Calais Jungle (Dark Day In September – one of the high spots of the album).
Panic is a frenetic opener, and it’s followed by Living A Lie, a more straightforward punk rant, and another of the record’s standout moments.
Shut Doors has a ska edge to it, though no let-up in the vocal delivery, while First World Problems is another blast of raw-throated anger which gives hardcore bands a run for their money for speed and power.
The One Percent is another powerful statement about losing your job and your home through austerity, and the damage it is doing to our communities.
Other subjects which come under the microscope are gentrification, mental health, homophobia, addiction and Brexit. The Restarts have plenty to get angry about, and deliver in spades.
This is the sort of record that would have your parents yelling “will you turn that racket down” when you were a kid. What better recommendation do you need? 8/10.