Flux of Pink Indians

[Neu Smell]Neu Smell (12", 2024) !Recommended!

One Little Independent Records

An absolutely essential re-issue of Flux’s 1981 debut single, three slices of fantastically splenetic (if sometimes painfully naive) anarcho-punk. Possibly the best band from the 'shouty' end of the genre (at least for the first LP), and the first to seriously address animal rights as a subject matter. Conflict would later overtake them on both counts, but not for a year or so…

Sandwiched between Neu Smell – a grimly humorous skit about the disposal of nuclear waste ("Parliament says it's safe, so why not bury it there?") - and Poem – which will have had many a punk rocker scratching their heads and reaching for the dictionary ("Scaved"?, WTF?*) - Tube Disasters (essentially a throwaway 'sick joke' punk-by numbers effort as played by The Epileptics - the band that evolved into Flux) has morphed into something quite different. The playing is harder, faster and more brutal, and the ideas more considered following their exposure to Crass (and make no mistake, this is very much 'post-Crass') all of which, together with the addition of the new last line "Vicarious of living rids your boredom" makes it a classic of the genre.

But it's the two songs on the B-Side, driven by thunderous tribal drumming and dissonant atonal guitars, that really shows what they were going to be capable of – Sick Butchers, told from the point of view of a deceased cow, fully aware of its fate ("Could see and hear the world around me, See and fear man around me") and the barbaric hypocrisy of most meat-eaters ("You try to stroke me in a field, Then go home and eat me as your meal"), while Background Of Malfunction places meat eating firmly at the centre of the continuum of greed and cruelty that capitalism inflicts on the world ("Man created greed, A choice of who to feed, A choice to live or die, A choice to smile or cry, A love to give to all, To make, to beg or crawl").

The packaging is faithfully recreated from the original 7” cover, and while I think this was the right decision, the sleeve notes, which I found slightly tiresome even in 1981, in the harsh light of 2024, are an exercise in the 'And another thing…' style so prevalent in fanzines of the day.

The re-pressing/ mastering has, inevitably improved the quality of the sound (originally squeezed onto a 7” single), which I suppose is a good thing, but I kind of miss the treble-heavy, tinny sound of the original pressing. It might not have been how the band wanted it to sound, but it IS how it sounded, so that's the 'correct' sound to my ears…

However, for people who didn't buy it at the time, and can't afford the frankly silly prices an original 7” goes for these days, it's an indispensable item.

Quite often, I want to murder the world, and I usually look to music to pull me out of the darkness. Sometimes, only shouty anarcho-punk will do. Sometimes only THIS shouty anarcho-punk will do.

* Harmed/ damaged - A redundant spelling of scathed as in; 'unscathed'.  9/10

Nick Hydra (April 2024)