UK punksters dragSTER pretty much hinted at themselves as being one of the country’s most irresistible snarls from day one; establishing and reinforcing that reputation and stature by each release and show. Three years after seriously stirring the punk scene with their album, Dead Punks, the Coventry quintet return with their fourth full-length, an encounter which roars that dragSTER is not only one of punk’s best antagonists but one of its essential and maybe crucial.
Anti – Everything is middle finger raised irritable, anthemically aggressive, and unapologetically rousing with the most deviously seductive web of lethal hooks and corruptive grooves within its roar. If perfection can exist, the album courts its embrace from start to finish, unleashing prize heart bred punk ‘n’ roll as invasively imaginative as it is ferociously instinctive. If its predecessor was a ‘punk classic’ in our words, Anti – Everything is rock ‘n’ roll alchemy; simply one inspiring blaze of organic punk devilry.
One Bad Cop opens things up, its initial raw breath swiftly infested with the album’s first delicious lure, a teasing hook which is emboldened as the track erupts around Fi Dragster’s ever tempting vocals. With threat to its air and stride, the track is under the skin in seconds; its tetchiness echoed in the enterprise of guitarists Diesel and Ben Kelly and equally rhythms which just incite physical confrontation.
It is an exhilarating start which still manages to be eclipsed by the outstanding Damned. Instantly its marching groove gripped already eager ears, its scuzzy bristling pure contagion loaded manna for the punk appetite. The flirtatious beats of Ryan Murphy gleefully add to the persuasion as too the dirty tempting of Tom AK’s bass which soon inspires the filthy glaze which blossoms as the song erupts without losing or defusing its crucial lures. Keys temper yet equally enhance the crotchety nature of the track; a character trait exploited by individual enterprise with it all boiling over in a mighty corruption of a chorus.
The following Burn It Clean uncages its own dispute of rousing rock ‘n’ roll to similarly irresistible effect, Fi a magnetic protagonist challenging and roaring within the track’s fractious stomp while the album’s title track in turn unleashes its own caustic holler to fire up body and attitude. Both tracks are pure manipulation, primal and designed, matching the glory of their predecessors and United Decay which erupts from its industrial bed with Kelly’s juicy groove and Diesel’s hungry riffs. With more restraint to its testy character but devious in its creative corruptions, the track is one imposingly tempting anthem though to be honest one such taunt among thirteen such compelling snares.
Through the short bruising hard rock meets garage punk holler of Spit It Out and the even briefer punk assault of Drone Pilots ears are lustfully infested, harassed and pleasured, subsequently inflamed yet again by Vultures Circle. It too reveals a fusion of varied rock ‘n’ roll flavours within its inflamed challenge, the song predacious but more a stalking of the senses than an incursion as it reveals yet another shade in the band’s broadest palette of sound yet.
It is a fresh tapestry added to as the likes of the ridiculously infectious Tokyo Joe, a slice of old school punk refreshed and re-invigorated, and Charmed To The Teeth with its similar if dirtier choleric incitement seduces body and vocal chords into vociferous participation. The latter of the pair also highlights the new adventure in the band’s songwriting and sound, twisting with unpredictable and teasing imagination.
The final trio of tracks ensure the album continues and ends on the same high nurtured so far, Dark Roulette cantankerous punk ‘n’ roll with its own line in viral hooks and melodic touchiness while Enemies just bullies and seduces eager participation with its prickly, short fuse rock ‘n roll with again a highly agreeable ’77 scent.
Broken By Design concludes the herd of viral riots, its irascible collusion of punk edginess and melodic seducing a final riveting and seriously arousing invitation to rise up; a track rich in bait and heart built with desire and instinct to stir things up. It is a striking, animated close to an album reeking craft and passion soaked in anthemic adventure.
There have been a few punk offerings which have truly inspired bands and fans alike over the past decades, Anti – Everything has just put forward its proposal to join their ranks.
Anti – Everything is out now through Louder Than War Records; available digitally, on CD and vinyl @ https://dragsteruk.bandcamp.com/album/anti-everything
Pete RingMaster 11/12/2018
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