Three Chords Of The Apocalypse
LP | CD | DL
Out 29 January 2021 (pre-orders available now)
On the offensive and highly offensive, Spam Javelin deliver a slab of prime punk punctuated with profanities that pillory politicians and posers says Nathan Brown.
Spam Javelin? Naming your band after the jargon for a gentleman’s genitalia? My first thought was “What a shit name!”. My second thought was “Nah, this is punk as fuck” – it’s part of a long punk rock music hall tradition of sweary bollocks designed to offend. That was before listening to any of the music, of course.
As you would expect with a name like THAT, they are sarcastic, employ plenty of humour and throw in lots of expletives for good measure. But don’t expect the tired “tits and fanny” end of pier, Ivor Biggun, Macc Ladds “Look I’ve said a rude word” approach. Spam Javelin point and laugh, and they want you in on the joke. But these songs go beyond winding up prudes and shocking “the man on the street” – who I think stopped being shocked by punk bands shouting rude words sometime in 1981. The swearing is more vernacular than deliberate shock tactic. And if me and my punk mates are anything to go by, this is how they speak day to day. Sometimes, there is no better way to demonstrate exactly how pissed off you are than to use the F word or the C word. Spam Javelin are on the offensive, and they’re highly offensive. Take for example, song titles like You’re a Sanctimonious Prick, Super Twat (about a high ranking rapist cop), Joy Division Tool (complete with Joy Division-esque sound track)
Rather than just “having a laugh” Spam Javelin are taking the piss out of things that need drawing attention to, or just need shouting about cos otherwise they’d drive you mad.
This album is what you get when punks are pissed off about socio-political issues and deliver with equal parts good and bad humour. It’s shit but we can have a laugh while we rail against it. There’s a solid chunky bass and drumming that ranges round the kit with rhythmic and stompy flourishes. There are little hooks and bits of the guitar work that borrow from North American Hardcore greats like Dead Kennedys and DOA (more of them later) whilst also sounding very British. And it is the vocals that provide this Britishness. Kinda gruff, angry and exasperated yet still enunciated. None of that growling here, although at times the singing almost breaks up in the way your voice does when you’ve genuinely reached breaking point. You can hear what this lot are pissed off about. They have made sure of that.
This is how punks do politics best – make serious points but never miss the opportunity to drop in word play, piss taking, hyperbole and swear words to hammer the point home.
Opening with Shit You Don’t Need (with later follow ups More Shit You Don’t Need and Even More Shit You Don’t Need) you can hear exasperation at the shopping mentality and pointless consumer culture, listing off a litany of pointless crap and lifestyle choices. Herd Impunity is up to date with its tirade against Tory voting, Daily Mail readers and their gammon hordes “Banging pots for the service you helped to destroy…”. Come on, if that hasn’t pissed you off, you haven’t been paying attention!
God Bless America tells the tale of how Spam Javelin fell foul of US Border officials when they tried to play 5 dates in the States without visas. “Homeland security you’re having a laugh. You took our fingerprints & our photographs. Put us on a plane back to Iceland. This is how you treat a punk rock band”. The sentiment comes across as somewhere between an updated No Entry (Sham 69), I’m So Bored of the USA (The Clash) and DOA’s America The Beautiful. Musically it is a mix of angry punk with a dose of crusty shouting. When the story was published by LTW I took it as a lesson in social media providing the all seeing eye. Unfortunately, what happened to this mob has arrived at a UK-EU border near you, so keep it schtum before you go on tour.
I love the play on words with the song title We’ve Made Plans For Nigel. Paying homage to XTC while at the same time taking potshot at the UK’s modern day Lord HawHaw, Nigel Farage. A slow riff based around a bassline, builds in anger. “You’ve caused all this pain for personal gain, there’s a swastika on your chest….you’re a fascist cunt”. Dismantling Farage piece by smarmy piece.
Now, if they hadn’t already won me over by appealing to my punk rock nonsensibilities, they certainly did when they dropped one of my all time favourites half way through the album. The (Canadian) Subhumans song Fuck You, made famous by DOA. They’d have been hard pressed to make a better choice of cover.
Spam Javelin have got a knack for observation. I Used to be a Punk is hilarious and all too familiar. We all know someone who “Got my vinyl out, put it on eBay. I used to be a punk but that was in the past. I knew that kind of shit would never last. I’ve grown up now, I’m a Tory voting cunt”.
The final track, giving the record its title, Three Chords Of The Apocalypse, is the longest, clocking in at 3.42. There is a slow burn start. It doesn’t let rip after a minute as you’d expect but keeps the pace for a further couple of minutes before the tempo increases. Is it strange that I can simultaneously notice influences from Dead Kennedy’s Riot and Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit?
Pre-orders are available now on black and orange splatter vinyl, CD or as download, with a release date of 29 January, 2021 from Bandcamp.
You can also catch up with Spam Javelin on Facebook.
All words by Nathan Brown. You can read more from Nathan on his Louder Than War archive over here.