Sunday, November 26, 2017

Toe Tappers and Fist Pumpers: The Best of No Future Records

As the author of The Unofficial No Future Website (unofficial as I had no dealings with the company nor any of the bands), I have often been asked what my favourite No Future release is. That's easy. When Erik challenged me to name my top 10, well this needed a bit more thinking about. But what the heck? … let's give it a go as there are only 195 songs to choose from. Yes, I counted them; yes, I listened to all of them; and yes, I ranked each and every one of them.

My top 10 is most likely to be different to your top 10, and yours is likely to be different from anybody else's. We will all have our favourites and we will all have those that we are not so keen on. If I'm honest, it's not the same top 10 that I'd have listed from the top of my head. That just shows how I had forgotten how good some of those songs really are and how my taste changes with time.

Also, this is not an absolute true top 10. I could easily fill half the list with tracks by my favourite No Future band, but that defeats the object of the task somewhat. I have therefore limited bands to a maximum of two songs. That actually made my task harder. So, here goes…

10.​ Blitzkrieg - "The Future Must Be Ours"
I'd forgotten how good this band actually was. I'd actually forgotten about this song until I played "A Country Fit For Heroes," but the more I played it, the more I liked it. It's a bit too 'shouty' for my usual taste buds, but the beat and guitar chords just got me bruising my legs by trying to replicate the power of this song. The vocals actually compliment this very powerful song beautifully. A couple of very decent songs were knocked out of the top 10 by this song at the end of my selection method.

9.​ Channel 3 - "I've Got A Gun"
I like to think that there are some album tracks better than the 'A' side of a band's only single on the label. However, this is not the case here. This song was pushed quite hard by a couple of tracks from the album of the same title, but I really do adore this one. That machine gun intro which feeds into an equally machine gun speed beat just blows me away. I can even hear a bit of The Dickies in the vocals, which is not a bad thing in my opinion. The clapping mid-song seem to work here too… never usually a fan of that.
8.​ Partisans – "Overdose"
Well I didn't expect this song to be here when I started my list. Great band, great album. I always did like this song, but again, the more I played it, the more I grew to love it. Much more melodic and slower paced that most of their recordings on the label, but they still manage to express the power of the song through Andy Leyland's guitar and that drum beat. Great intro as well.

7.​ Blood – "Megalomania"
I still remember the first time I played this 7". It blew me away then, and it still blows me away now. The fact that it is this low in my top ten is a testament to the quality of the rest in my list. Since when did classical style piano feature in a punk song? Well it does here and leads into those chainsaw buzzing guitar riffs quite nicely… and what's with that stunning mid-song guitar solo and bass line? Is this a true punk song? Oh yes!
6.​ Rose Of Victory - "Suffragette City"
Now is the time to potentially piss a lot of people off. Personally, I think this cover is as good as David Bowie's original. There you are, I've said it. Stone me from a great height if you must, but this is a cover of my favourite song from Bowie's brilliant Ziggy Stardust album, and I think Nidge and Mackie have done a mighty fine job with it. It's not as highly produced as Bowie's version, but I'm sure that it cost only a fraction to produce. That said, the rawness of this song make a very refreshing version of a classic song.

5.​ Blitzkrieg - "The Abuse Of Power"
A worthy second entry from this band in my opinion. This EP was one of the last acquired for my No Future collection, and what an EP it is. This is the best of the four by a long way in my opinion. A heavy chainsaw guitar riff introduction followed by some serious drum hammering before those 'shouty' vocals that I seem to have come to adore. The bass and guitar solo is good and I like the way the vocal style seems to change a number of times through the song. This band released far too little material in the day for their quality, which is a real shame for punk rock.

4.​ Violators - "Summer Of '81"
In the very distant past, I was very hesitant of female vocals in a punk song, but that's all changed now. I love Helen's voice and I love the intro to this song. That mellow start that gradually blends into those machine gun guitar riffs which continue throughout the song to the very last "riot". Plenty of anger and again, not nearly enough material recorded by this band.
3.​ Blitz – "Propaganda"
This was always my favourite track on the album, and still is. It was a very close run thing with another Blitz song, but after many listens, this one just about got to the winning line. A great bass intro leads into the vocals before we get those typical Blitz chainsaw guitar riffs. The way is slows down and softens briefly with a bass solo in the middle before erupting again is just great. Total quality amongst a number of other quality tracks on the best album released by No Future in my opinion.

2.​ Attak - "Today's Generation"
Possibly the angriest song on No Future, I think this far outweighs anything else that Attak recorded. From the brief and gentle tap on the drum kit, to the rasping guitar into Gary's scream and then it all kicks off into something special. The heaviness, pace and anger just does not let up until the final few seconds, at which point it tails off with a completely different type of guitar riff. What more do you want in a punk song, apart from…
1.​ Blitz - "Razors In The Night"
I once described this song as "An explosion on vinyl." This song has always been top of my No Future list since the day I first bought it. No gentle intro to this one. Straight in with a bang and then the drums get it really going. Fast, powerful and aggressive throughout. Nidge's typical chainsaw guitar riffs dominate the song throughout with the subtle bass and drums complimenting the sound perfectly. Everything a classic punk song should be.

At this point, I feel I need to give a few honorary mentions.
Blitz are my favourite No Future band. As I stated above, I could have filled half of the above list with Blitz Songs. I nearly changed my two song limitation to include "Someone's Gonna Die" (it would have been number 4).

In my opinion, Peter And The Test Tube Babies and Red Alert produced their better material after their No Future releases. However "Maniac" and "Industrial Slide" are two tracks that I still hold dear.
There are two more covers got very high up in my ranking. "Chinese Rocks" by The Insane is the best version of this great Heartbreakers' song that I've heard. The Wall's "When I'm Dancing" is also a great song, but in my opinion, does not come close enough to Slade's version to include in the list.

The Screaming Dead's "Necroaria" and "Night Creatures" are other songs that I'd have loved to have included in the top 10, but they were just nudged out at the final selection stage. As was The Samples' "Fire Another Round," with its machine gun like guitar riffs that I find really appealing.
Well, if nothing else, I hope I've given you an incentive to check out the above and, if you don't already have them, maybe to get a copy of your own for your collection. This has been a fun task for me and although I'm not sure I'd want to do another like it, I'm glad I did this one. Thanks for reading.

Lyndon Henstridge
The Unofficial No Future Records Website

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