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Non-Prog CD Reviews

U.K. Subs

2006-2016: The Jet Age

Review by Gary Hill

This five CD set gathers up all the music from a specific era of U.K. Subs. The band are a legendary punk act. Other than on the final disc, there is a certain sound that remains a constant here. Then again, punk isn't the most diverse musical genre. They do manage to stretch the sound from its origins at times, though.

This all works really well. In addition to the original albums,, the first two discs include some bonus tracks. This collection is encased in a cardboard clamshell box. It includes separate album-art based cardboard sleeves for each disc and an informative book. This is a great collection of music from an important band.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2024  Volume 1 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Work in Progress

This thing is driving, raw punk rock. It has a healthy helping of heavy metal in the mix, too. This is absolutely on fire, and a great way to start the set.

Tokyo Rose
More of a nearly spoken punk rocker, this is solid, but not the same level as the monster that opened things. I do like the bass sound on the track, and the tune has some solid hooks. Its punk rock and roll guitar solo is classy, too. If the opener was more like The Dead Boys, this is closer to The Clash.
Hell Is Other People
Landing somewhere between the two preceding numbers, this is mean and energized.
The Axe
As this comes in, it feels a little like NWOBHM. It works out to a Sex Pistols like punk rocker from there.
Radio Unfriendly
Raw and driving, this is another killer punk rocker. It's one of the fiercer tracks here.
This Chaos
I like the anthemic chorus on this. It's another song that's closer to the Sex Pistols end of the equation.
This has more of a metal angle to it in some ways. It feels more like punky metal than metallic punk to me. It's not that far removed from some of the NWOBHM stuff.
Eighteen Wheels
There is a healthy helping of rockabilly in the mix here. This is another classy tune, and a different angle to the band's sound.
Children of the Flood'
I really dig this punk powerhouse. There are no big surprises here, but it's just particularly effective.
All Blurs Into One
Now, this is a change. It's more melodic. I don't think I'd call this punk. It's more of 1970s rocker. I suppose the vocals pull it more punky, but overall this is one of the most instantly accessible things here. I like this a lot.
A driving punk stomper, this is a little rawer. It's a strong tune, no matter how you label it.
Rock N Roll Whore
This raw punk tune has a nice balance between more stripped back and full arrangements. It definitely earns some parental advisories for the lyrics.
I love the mean riff driving this cut. The song has so much style and class. This is punk rock with a lot of power and drama.
Robot Age
Noisy and driving, this has both raw punk and metal angles at play. It's another killer tune.
Bonus Tracks:

The raw yet catchy punk fire of this one is great. It's a fun track.

Straighten Out
Another fierce punk rocker, I love the energy of this thing.
I Live in a Car 2008
Furious and fast, this is another powerhouse.
I love the mean driving nearly metal feel of this tune. It's screaming hot.
Warhead 2008
Bass gets things underway here. The rest of the band join, and we're off into another cool rocker.
Straighten Out 2008
Screaming hot raw punk is on the menu here. This is another fierce one. It's more on the mean side of things. This gets a parental advisory.
Pounding, screaming punk rock is the order of business here. This is another winner.
Disc 2
Implosion 77

After a more ambient introduction, this screams out into some seriously fast paced and raw punk rock. It's mean and powerful. There is a dropped back, mellower break mid-track, but the intensity remains place for most of the track. This does have some keyboards at play, which is interesting change.

Coalition Government Blues
This has some harmonica in the mix. There is definitely a blues angle at play, but the song is quite fierce and raw beyond that.
Speed metal meets punk rock here. This is another furious screamer.
Another driving, fierce punk stomper, I like this a lot.
Angry and rather Sex Pistols leaning, this is another killer track.
Black Power Salute
Here we get another driving powerhouse. This is mean and classy.
Las Vegas Wedding

Angry and raw in sound, this is another stomper.

Stare at the Sun
A little more reflective, this track reminds me a little of things like D.O.A.  I think the Ramones could be a valid comparison, too. I dig the stripped back break a lot, too. This is actually a standout track for me.
Garden of Good and Evil
I love the grinding punk energy of this one. It's another that makes me think of The Dead Boys to some degree. It's also another highlight.
Workers Revolution
While not any kind of big change, this is another effective piece of music.
Wreckin’ Ball
A classic rock sound merges with the punk angles on this tune.
This is particularly mean. It's another killer punk romp.
Failed State
Not a big change, this is another angry and driving punk tune.
Momento Mori
Bass gets us underway here. This is frantic and fierce.
Bonus Track:
Workers Beer Company

Here we get another topical stomper.

Disc 3:
Yellow Leader
Sick Velveteen

The rhythm section gets this thing going with style. They scream out from there in a killer punk jam.

Some parts of this feel almost metal. Other sections are more hard rock meets punk in nature. This isn't any kind of mold-breaking change, but it's an effective piece of music. The time change section is cool.
Bordeaux Red
With a spoken opening that feels like something out of a movie, this works to some killer, grinding punk rock from there. The screaming fast instrumental section definitely gets into metallic territory.
This is a frantic powerhouse that has some great classic rock angles and a lot of punk energy. It is a real winner.
A furious punk screamer, this earns a parental advisory.
Slower, and sneering, this is old school punk. I'm reminded of the Sex Pistols to some degree.
Feed the Whore
Driving, and mean, this is another that has both mainstream rock and punk things at play. It's a cool track.
Furious and so angry, this is a killer track. It's a highlight. It also has some cool changes.
Prime Evil
This has some intriguing twists and turns. There is a punk anger and energy, but it also has plenty of metal in the mix. This is another standout.
Rebellion Song
In a big change, acoustic guitar starts this track. The vocals come over the top of that.
Sin City Blues
With a blues rocking groove, this is another strong tune.
Furious and driving, this is another powerhouse. It has an excursion into near metallic psychedelia with spoken voices over the top.
Big Bug
More along the lines of Sex Pistols type punk, this is another winner.
Suicidal Girl
Fiercer and meaner, this isn't a big change from a lot of the stuff here. Still, it all works well. The hooks on this are particularly catchy.
This one definitely feels metallic. It's definitely a punk rocker, though.
Cry Wolf
Here we have another screaming hot punk stomper. It has some almost speed metal angles at play, too. I can make out hints of Motörhead on this thing. That's especially true on the instrumental section.
Effects laden sounds serve as the backdrop for a spoken piece on the introduction here. The track shifts to a melodic, almost jazzy jam from there. This is a big change. It's cool.
Disc 4:

This rises up gradually. Then it screams out with ferocity and fury.

Raw, mean and fierce, this is another powerhouse.
I’ve Got a Gun
Here's another that makes me think of The Pistols. It earns a parental advisory.
Evil Vs Evil
Another screaming hot punk number, this is all class.
Proto Feminist
I dig this one a lot. It's raw, mean and cool.
Harmonica is part of a blues rocking groove as this gets going. The track has both metal and punk in the mix. Yet, overall it's more mainstream blues rock based.
This is another driving, fierce tune. It has some cool guitar soloing.
World War III
While not a big departure, this is more screaming hot punk rock.
Dope Fiend
There is more of that Sex Pistols kind of vibe on display here in some ways. This is another rocking number.
I Don’t Care
This raw punk romp is another with some Pistols vibes at play. It gets a parental advisory. Piano added to the mix later is an unusual choice.
Master Race
Fierce punk that has more of that Pistols thing is the order of business here. In a weird twist, this turns to a doo wop kind of song near the end.
Hard rocking, this is a bit catchier than some of the stuff here, It does still have punk angles, but is more mainstream rock oriented.
This Machine
Frantic and tastefully raw, this is a real winner.
City of the Dead
Bouncy 1960s styled pop rock is on the menu here. The vocals bring more of the punky thing to it, but those vocals also remind me of Hawkwind to some degree. There is also a reggae groove to this. It's a unique track that's a lot of fun. I'd consider it a highlight.
Maid of Orleans
This is fierce and mean sounding. It's dramatic and has some definite metal angles at play. Of course, that's tempered with pure punk rock.
Another that has both metal and punk angles at play, this is particularly effective. It's one of my favorites here, really.
Disc 5:
Acoustic XXIV
Angel of Eighth Avenue

This acoustic arrangement is cool. I like the fact that the bass is prominent. I'm not really sure this qualifies as acoustic, though. I mean, the strummed rhythm guitar sounds like clean playing on an electric, rather than actual acoustic to me. I could be wrong, though. The bass and lead guitar are both definitely electric. Still, this is a solid folk rocking number.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Now, this one does feel more like acoustic guitar to me. That's the only instrument on the track, but this is more of an acoustic rocker than a folk rock sounding tune. It's a solid piece of music.
The guitar sound on this makes me think some of the clean guitar work from early Rush. The vocals will never be mistaken as Geddy Lee, though. The track is another that works pretty well.
Sleeping Rough
More rocking, this has a 1960s garage band kind of sound, but delivered with clean guitar sounds.
Souls from Hell
Harmonica is a nice touch here. The guitar sound has some definite processing involved, but is clean. This is more of a folk rocker.
Stop Global War
The vocals here establish this firmly in the punk zone. The music is more folk oriented and based around just one mostly clean guitar.
Four Strong Winds
This is much more of a folk tune. The harmonica is a nice touch.
Higher Tide
Fast paced, clean guitar strumming is at the heart of this The vocals are more punk oriented. It's oddly anthemic, and it features more harmonica.
The Outsider
The guitar on this definitely has effects processing, but not distortion. This has an almost space rock vibe to it. It also has a good energy and groove.
Thunders in the Rain
This is much more of a hard rocking tune, but it still avoids distortion. This is a punky number despite the arrangement.
Stormy Day
The musical arrangement leans more toward folk rock here. The vocals brings more of the punk angle.
Little Black Crow
This fast paced number is very much a folk tune. It's fun and has some harmonica blowing.
Hard Times Cafe
The harmonica shows up on this tune, too. This is more of a 1960s styled blues rocker.
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