Shocks of Mighty!
- 1 February 2014
rap’s self referential boasting as a fiery punk snarl"
we start; a short disclaimer. I have known Veg (Ranking Bass) for over
30 years and he’s probably my closest friend. I’m also pretty much the
band’s house photographer/ designer (although not the very fine flyer
for this gig), video maker, and occasional shifter of gear. Now that
I’ve cleared that up, you can read the following and make up your own
mind about whether there’s any nepotism involved.
back to a time before punk meant muscle bound tattooed men
bellowing like constipated mammoths, or skinny Americans in eyeliner
whining about their ‘issues’, Shocks of Mighty! (Please note the
exclamation mark, it’s very important) take their inspiration from the
late ‘70s/ ‘80s punk scene when being angry and having a tune weren’t
The fact that Mistah Brown Selector (Vocals/ Guitar) is a well
respected ska/reggae DJ adds another layer to the sound, but not in the
clumsy way that can sometimes result when punk bands turn their hands
to Jamaican rhythms. This is more organic; part of the DNA of the band,
similar to the way reggae informed work of The Ruts and Public Image
Standing out in a streamlined, lean set are For Bill, an
emotional requiem for a dead friend with a heartfelt,
Up With The Sun chorus; Welcome To The Working Week,
a sarcastic, Dexy’s influenced account of life on the bread-line;
and Not Pretty,
which re-casts rap’s self referential boasting as a fiery punk snarl.
They finish with ‘Camouflage’; a passionate tale of childhood friends
separated when one of them is lost to the blank uniformity of army life
(and death) with lyrics that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Jam’s
‘Setting Sons’ - “You went mad ‘round about 16/ You joined up, you were
so keen/ They gave you a uniform, gave you a number/ You looked so
smart, you dumb motherfucker”.
It’s the varied influences - from dub to rocksteady, ‘60s psych-garage
to northern soul - that give the songs that extra dimension so often
lacking in contemporary punk bands, but there’s also compassion and
intelligence here (worn lightly- but at the heart of everything they
do), which tempers their fiery raging against injustice.
A proper band with proper tunes and choruses, for people who remember
when proper tunes and choruses still mattered.7/10