Song Of The Day 9/3/2014: The Lurkers - "New Guitar In Town"


Untitled Punk Week: It's amusing, even a little bit heartening, to see so many bands from the second or third tiers of Anglo-Saxon punk to be so admired by their cult audiences, even as those audiences go to some effort to describe just how amateur the band was in the first place. Sometimes just flat-out bad. I realize that's part and parcel of the whole punk credo at the time, but it still amazes me as a resident of America, where we placed over-extended importance on the notion that our bands were at least competent. They had their Pete Shelleys and their Anti-Nowhere Leagues, and we just threw back Tom Scholz and his devices of extraordinary wankery. And they laughed, and continued on their merry way. I sometimes think I was misplaced on the wrong side of the ocean. I'm still open to visa invitations, though.

We saw some of this hobbled embrace yesterday with The Mansons from Australia, and now I've seen full-out disparagement of The Lurkers from London, courtesy of the tremendously entertaining Punky Gibbons site, who have the following to say about the Lurkers. Once again, this is a fan site:
Now recognised by lazy journalists everywhere as London's answer to the Ramones, The Lurkers had all the alleged stoopidty of their New York counterparts but less of their skill for writing preposterously great songs. Regardless of this, they somehow managed to be hugely entertaining despite being sort of...well, maybe crappy is too strong a word, but not first rate. They lacked the sartorial flare or political ire of The Clash (for instance), couldn't come close to the Pistols for sheer nihilistic rage, had none of the Buzzcocks' intellectual underpinnings, and weren't snobby poseurs like Siouxsie & The Banshees. Moreover, Howard Wall's monotone vocal skills were decidedly under par and Manic Esso was only capable of the one drum “pattern”. However, Pete Stride summoned up some impressive wall of sound guitar noises, wrote some of the new wave's most ridiculous lyrics and matched them with infectiously catchy singalong tunes. So, to recap: in spite of their second-rateness, they were great. And not just great, but really great.
I'm not gonna take the bait of a Ramones comparison no way no how, but I agree on the winking pleasures of "New Guitar In Town," even if it strikes me as landing more on the power-pop side than the Oi! side. The Lurkers were the first band signed to Beggars Banquet Records and went through enough of the predictable lineup switchouts that I don't exactly know who's responsible for everything on this record. You have Google as much as I do.

The Lurkers reunited a few years ago with absolutely zero original members, although bassist Arturo Bassick was at least there for most of it. Their 2003 album 26 Years contained some compressed guitars and suspiciously good harmony vocals, but also a very nice song that double-referenced punk and Dirty Harry's most famous tagline.

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