The Anti-Nowhere League
|©1982 Dojo Records
1. We're The League
4. Can't Stand Rock N Roll
5. (We Will Not) Remember You
7. Streets Of London
8. I Hate…People (Remix)
10. World War III
11. Nowhere Man
12. Let's Break The Law (Remix)
13. So What
14. I Hate People (Single version)
15. Let's Break The Law (Single version)
Yes, it's true: there aren't really a whole lot of very good things that can be said about The Anti-Nowhere League. The music is stupid, midtempo, single-chord bashed punk rock that could probably be adequately be played by a gang of six-year-olds with muscular dystrophy (provided one could find a stray dog to do the vocals). The group takes the easy road to attention through sleazy posturing and "shocking", "controversial" lyrics about sexual perversion, bad manners, and a general contempt for society. Live, they were notoriously lousy, and for an exercise in boring, shitty, Brit-punk, I heartily recommend checking out any of The League's material following the debut recording I'll eventually get around to reviewing here.
Of course, none of this takes away from the fact that We Are…The League is still one of the most gloriously stupid, brash, and most importantly, fun albums to arise from the ranks of British punk rock in the wake of the Thatcher era.
Sixteen tracks strong and full of sloppy playing and jolly fun-time bile, We Are…The League takes many of the assumptions made about what makes early punk rock great (stripped-down rock excitement with a sneering, crotch-grabbing "fuck you" attitude, and a lack of concern for proper musical form) and puts them into practice. The band then coats the whole venture in a layer of cartoonishishly debauched excess and nihilism that makes everything all the more silly, provided you aren't easily offended or take the band (or yourself) too terribly seriously. The songs are short, rude blasts of power chords and elementary drumming, filled to the brim with monstrously catchy hooks that won't leave the brain once they get lodged in there. Animal, a vocalist self-avowed to be generally bereft of proper hygienic practice, then bellows over the top of this mess in his distinctive, phlegmed up beer bark. The man's voice is larger-than-life, and really makes The Anti-Nowhere League stand out with a sound far greater than the sum of its parts. Song titles (and album highlights) such as "Animal", "(We Will Not) Remember You", "I Hate…People", and "Let's Break The Law" attest to the delightfully anti-social lyrical content of the album, and the songs themselves, as I've mentioned, are so eminently goofy and fun to sing along to that it seems really hard to have a love of simple, catchy music and dislike this album (try as I may have in the past). The fact of the matter is that We Are…The League is quite simply a really damn entertaining long-player, and when it really comes down to it, some decent entertainment is all I really ask of out of any album I listen to. Perhaps Anti-Nowhere League could be called a less intelligent, less musical, British answer to Fear? Perhaps. Whatever works; just go ahead and buy this album, and pretend the rest of their catalogue doesn't exist.
Note: If you do decide to buy this opus of numbskull nihilistic punk, which, frankly, you should, it is absolutely mandatory that you hunt down a reissue copy that includes the band's ultimate piss-off anthem, "So What", as a bonus track. Both great and offensive enough to get the original single it was featured on banned in Britain (as in, British officials busting into the warehouse where the records were held and confiscating them), this profanity-laden tune is without a doubt Anti-Nowhere League's finest moment, and brought the band some added fame over fifteen years later when a little-known thrash ensemble by the name of Metallica decided to cover it. So fucking what?!
Review by Hunter Brawer
Review date: 06/2010