ALBUM REVIEW: Kickback Generation – Stand By You (self-released)

North East streetpunk band Kickback Generation launched their new album Stand By You at the recent Rebellion Festival in Blackpool.

Formed in 2011, they’ve had a bit of a switch-around in members in the last couple of years, with drummer Mick moving to guitar, and Puss taking over on the kit, with bass-playing frontman Jim continuing to do his stuff front of stage.

I first came across KG a couple of years ago, and was immediately impressed – not just by the tuneful racket they made, but also by the sentiments of their heart-on-the-sleeve anthems which celebrate being working class and proud of it.

Their political punk is very ‘old school 1977’ in some ways, but very much of the present in others, probably thanks to the age of the band – Mick being very much the ‘young ‘un’.

Kickback Generation singer Jim Thoroughgood. Pic: Gary Welford.

This is their third album, and anyone who’s seen them in the last couple of years will recognise most of the 12 songs on it, as it now forms the basis of their live set.

It’s a big step up in songwriting and production from their last album (2015’s Rant), and interestingly they have another go at two of the tracks from that, with impressive results.

Cathedral Sky (about the Durham Miners’ Gala) and Riptide Refugee (about the mess that is Israel-Palestine) were already two of the best songs on Rant, and the new and improved versions are even more impassioned.

Kickback Generation guitarist Mick. Pic: Gary Welford.

They’re not the best songs on Stand By You, however; there’s lots of contenders for that honour, including Latch Key Kids and School Of Hard Knocks, which both featured on last year’s Fending For Ourselves EP.

Elsewhere, Black Dog Days addresses the subject of depression, while Roots Boots & Brotherhood extols the virtues of the DIY punk scene and the feeling of community it engenders.

The Life I Used To Know, which brings things to a close, is another standout track, not that there’s a bad one among the dozen on offer.

Kickback Generation drummer Puss. Pic: Gary Welford.

This is a cracking album, and the production on it is excellent, superbly capturing the band’s live sound, but do yourself a favour and try to catch a Kickback Generation gig, as live is where they’re really in their element. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner