Defying the challenges of age-gravitation, British punk pilots reach for glorious finale of their nigh on five-decade roll.
“Time has slipped away – we’ve got to call it a day”: set to a solemn strum, the line that launches “So Long” brings to a close what’s supposed to become this ensemble’s last-ever studio album, which is difficult to believe – but then, there’s always been a sense of flawed tactfulness in their oeuvre, so the quartet may indeed know when to bow out. Well-aware of the instance’s importance, they infuse “Fall Into The Sky” with anthemic intent, while spicing it up with a lot of groovy momentum to make the record rock and roll across the years and right into the future. As multiple allegories and allusions give the platter’s flow a fresh flavor, its songs’ messages are ever-relevant and melodies are attractive throughout, following up on "Mars Casino" with flair.
Of course, the initial focus can be trained at “He’s A Psycho” – the album’s first single which, in less than two minutes, throws a great ball of ire towards the listener – yet the emotional balance of opener “The Owl And The Kangaroo” which, guitars ablaze, links simultaneously to the Aussie-themed, coruscating “Dry Down Under” and “Sat’ Nite” whose laborer’s grind is based on the old blues template that, hung on its “I Just Want To Make Love To You” origin, fits into the wake of triumphant “Love’s Changed” with some finesse. Still, there’s reserved elegance in “Burning Me Up” where Knox and Nigel Bennett lock their contagious licks around Pete Honkamaki’s bass axis to the insistent beat of Eddie Edwards’ drums and let six-string solos swirl out, for “Rock My World” to swing crepuscular twang in contrast and the title track to get entangled in mellifluous menace. Surely, the classic, ’60s-inspired riff of “Tomorrow” can evoke the group’s nihilistic past, and the psychedelia-tinctured “Brain Failure” can call to the faraway towns too, but “Part Of Your World” turns the drift from parochial to global in a much cooler manner. As a result, the farewell-bidding “God bless you” sounds as warm and sincere as one would never expect from purveyors of punk.
God bless these veterans!