Though generally not mentioned in the same breath as other UK punk legends, Special Duties was a revered and essential part of punk rock in the eighties. The release of a brand new album proves they are still one vital and rousing part of a genre which will never let the world settle in its apathy.
The inspiration of bands such as Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Boys and The Adverts saw the formation of Special Duties in the October of ’77 by Steve Green (Aka Arrogant), Steve Norris (Aka Duty) and Nigel Baker. Keenly and increasingly followed the band made their full impact on ears and controversial reputation with their first single, Violent Society, which was uncaged in 1980 via Charnel House Records. This led to them signing with Rondelet Records, a pair of EPs following with increasing success. It was also the time that drummer Stuart Bray joined a line-up which had already seen guitarist Bart Povah on board at the start of the move. The label also released the band’s debut album, 77 in 82, it becoming one of those essential encounters of the time and since with the years only cementing that thought even as the band called it a day in 1983. Its reissue in 1995 as 77’ in 97 on Mark Brennan of The Business’s label Captain Oi! Records revelled in the band’s fame and lingering popularity and provided spark to major billing at the likes of Holidays in the Sun and the Fuck Reading Festival and shows in the US for the now reformed band.
Inciting stages ever since, Special Duties have now unleashed a collection of new tracks in the shape of 7 Days A Week, a roar of punk rock which whilst an echo of legendary times is a rousing wake up call for the now; a slab of punk rock proving the band as potent and important in the current punk scene as they have ever been.
With newest member in bassist Dave Sadler alongside vocalist Duty, guitarist Povah and drummer Bray, the quartet instantly stamp down their authority in presence and sound with album opener Time Bomb. A bait loaded bassline immediately incited eager attention, its lure soon joined by a citric melodic strand and ear grasping riffs and beats as Duty combatively hollers. Hungrily galvanic and as rich in classic hues as it is fresh irritability and character, the track is a glorious introduction to the release and the band to any newcomers.
The following Out of Control also makes a deceitfully controlled but hungry start which soon breeds a rapacious surge of nagging riffs amidst rhythmic incitement. It is a prowling menace of a track and again quickly addictive as too proved its successor Billy Jones. With a Clash hued tempting to its rousing enticement, there was no escaping eager involvement in throat and flying limbs though that pretty much applies to every moment within the release as instantly proven by its title track and Do It Today. The first entices with a slim but captivating melodic lure, its breath thoughtful and the seed to a similarly spun passage of folk punk nurtured tempting. All these enticements lead to another chorus no punk could hold back from uniting in, a roar only empowered by the melodic enterprise between the eruptions while the second, riding a rhythmic manipulation which just fed off personal lust and a similarly knowing bass growl, easily recruited its own inhibition lost collaboration.
Our appetite to get involved never wavered as the likes of the healthily raucous Rebel, the bitterly resentful Lies and Punks & Bootboys with its non-compliant challenge hit the spot, the last especially greedy in its incitement. They are also tracks which, in a time when we are aroused and blessed with attitude and spirit motivating exploits from old school punk stirred bands such as Dirt Box Disco, 4 Past Midnight, Hung Like Hanratty and Spunk Volcano & the Eruptions, prove Special Duties are still richly inspirational, a thought only cemented by tracks such as the rabid early Damned like Fight Back and Johnny with its nostalgic classic punk coloured tale, references and temptation.
In nothing but unavoidable triggers, Mary Whitehouse proved itself another lustful pleasure, commanding vocal chords and contemplation with the prowess of a puppeteer with Brings It All Back and Radio quickly confirming our declaration of non-stop fulfilment with their respective feral sing-a-long and memory evoking celebration.
With Stand Up stomping through ears in unapologetic old school bred truculence to bring it all to a mighty close, 7 Days a Week was manna to these old school punk sparked ears and one we suggest will ignite all punk rock appetites whether found in ’77, over subsequent decades or are fresh to the glories of the now.
7 Days a Week is out now digitally or on red or clear vinyl and CD via Violated Records @ http://www.violatedrecords.com/products/713771-special-duties-7-days-a-week
Pete RingMaster 11/11/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review