Union Jack – Violence

Two years and a handful of months on from igniting the senses and passions with their previous album, Supersonic, French punks Union Jack have unleashed a just as voracious and compelling assault in the shape of Violence. With ten tracks which sonically live up to its title, the band’s new full-length ravages as it snarls, bounces as it unleashes ravening contagion. After the release of its predecessor we suggested that the Paris hailing trio could infringe on the world beyond their homeland, the UK and parts of Europe; with its successor we expect it.

In many ways Violence is a somewhat harsher and fractious trespass than that offered by Supersonic but still ripe with the instinctive catchiness and contagious character which marked out that previous outing. From vocals to sound, textures to aggression, it is an openly feral affair but one swiftly proving addictively contagious to ears and an ever hungry punk appetite.

Since emerging in 1997, Union Jacks’ fusion of punk, ska, hardcore and raw rock ‘n’ roll has bred its own individuality, one which has grown and evolved as a host of other flavours has been embraced and Violence only stretches that adventure. With its untamed air and trespass, the album in some ways looks back on the band’s early releases but with its noise fuelled twists, lyrical world attacking irritability, and rapacious almost cacophonous breath it is a whole fresh incitement for Union Jack and punk itself.

The album opens up with So Cold, the beat bouncing invitation of drummer Antoine Sirven Gabiache leading the way before the guitar of Tom Marchal and bass of Rude Ben spin their equally ear summoning threads of sound around the song’s initial lure. Quickly it is a volatile stroll of sound and infection, mouth-watering discord uniting with punk belligerence in music and voice, the mesh of vocal voracity from all three band members as tenacious as it is mischievously dissonant. With an At The Drive In-esque sonic tension and unpredictability, the track makes for a striking start to Violence with devilish keys adding to the temptation.

Venom ensures it continues as its swinging gait and savagery is immediately infectious, guitar and bass driving a boisterously truculent and catchy attack with the latter laying down a wicked groove as again vocals collude in a magnetic squall. Three minutes of noisy punk manipulation leads to two minutes of noise twisting ferity as Dance In The Fire springs its own cauldron of vocal and sonic dispute around manipulative hooks and grooves which invade and incite body and instinctive pleasure. The track is pure rock ‘n’ roll at its most wild yet deviously sculpted.

Poison Me instantly infests ears with a dancing melody if one with a certain acerbic edge which is inflamed across the instantly following hooks and an enterprise exposed by craft and imagination. Nimble keys flirt and tease from within the web of contagion unleashed by guitar and bass, the song a rousing and refreshing slice of animated ingenuity proving a definite favourite though matched throughout the album as proven by the calmer but as hungrily catchy Legacy. Like Joe Jackson meets Stiff Little Fingers, the song is pure temptation, if far too short at barely a minute length, and only more irresistible through the addition of Philippe Cattafesta’s piano organ.

Through the primal raging of Vasectomy, the song a fury of contagiousness and Frustration with its fertile noise bred roar, Violence only tightened its grip on attention and appetite; the lively hooks and spirited antics of both an inevitable and inescapable persuasion and each challenging that favourite moment choice, while Sugar is a collision of old school punk and rabid hardcore which ears and body had no defence to.

The final pair of Thieves & Liars and Nocturne take the album out as impressively as it came in, the first a multi-flavoured lure of punk and rock. It’s less intensive and ferocious presence compared to predecessors unveils a landscape of melodic and sonic dexterity but with an inherent cynicism and severity of word and emotion which makes you take stock while the final track is another inferno of the bands highly flavoursome and inventive sound with hooks and melodies that take hold of the senses like the strings of a puppeteer.

There is a definite uncompromising breath to the Union Jack sound which aligns a challenge with the temptation sprung but one which punk and noise fans will only relish along with the devilish enterprise which effortlessly escapes the band.

Violence is out now; available @ https://unionjack.bandcamp.com/album/violence

https://www.facebook.com/badska/   http://unionjack.free.fr

Pete RingMaster 27/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Union Jack – Supersonic

uxj_RingMasterReview

It has been twenty years since Paris hailing Union Jack first stomped around with their anger fuelled, ska infested punk ‘n’ roll, a celebration marked by the release of a brand new slab of infectious aggression. Supersonic is the trio’s seventh full-length, a stonking riot driven by the band’s familiar yet individual sound which simply hits the spot dead centre.

Across six albums and a host of EPs, Union Jack have honed their sound into one intrusively virulent proposal, a strain of punk rock with catchiness as potent as its irritability at the world. Live it has ignited hordes of fans, earning the band a big reputation across their homeland, into Europe, and Canada while sharing stages with the likes of The Damned, DOA, UK Subs, Leftöver Crack, Swingin Utters, Subhumans, The Aggrolites, The Movement, Inner Terrestrials and many more. Even so, they still may be an unknown quality to a great many, something that Supersonic should amend.

Recorded at Sofa Studio with RomTomCat, mixed and mastered by Mike Major ( At the Drive-in, Sparta, Coheed And Cambria, Gone is Gone), and with additional contributions on certain songs by Thomas Birnbacher (upright bass/organ), Phillipe Cattafesta (piano/organ), and Joe Robinne (organ), Supersonic grabs ears from its first breath. Cynical Sound Club starts things stomping, a brief introduction urgently loaded with wicked hooks and punchy rhythms as the band gathers all its wiles ready for next up Oh Boogie. The second track bounces around with attitude and aggressive energy tempered by the warm touch of an organ. The mischievous bassline is irresistible, riffs spice for the ears while the twin vocal attack of guitarist Tom Marchal and bassist/pianist Rude Ben are intrusive ringleaders in the magnificent raw and wild melody hooked romp.

Wordaholic has an even rawer air to its character and presence, Antoine Sirven Gabiache’s swinging beats leading the way as vocals and grooves leave lingering imprints on the senses and psyche. Like a mix of  Swingin’ Utters and Faintest Idea, the song brawls and flirts with the listener, showing recognisable essences while uncaging its own antagonistic delights before Blackout unveils choppy riffs and slapping beats as again the excellent unity between the band’s contrasting vocals bring their own magnetic clamour to the catchy ire pumped mix. Both tracks use the body like a puppeteer, resistance to their swinging rhythms and wicked hooks pointless though each is over shadowed a touch by the punk rock roar of Boomerang. Stalking ears with a predacious bassline, enslaving them with the tangiest hooks as vocals entangle participation in their physical and emotional affray, the track is glorious; a Billy Talent like spicing added pleasure.

art_RingMasterReviewNext up Purple Pride offers a melodic core not too far removed from its predecessor’s and indeed the track lacks the same incendiary spark but still has pleasure and appetite greedy with its raw punk ‘n’ roll belligerence while the bubbly but sonically raw assault of Human Zoo straight, also just missing out on the heights of earlier songs, is still nothing less than fiercely enjoyable with its unpredictable nuances and twists.

Bitter Taste shows a calmer nature as keys and melodies swing with a summery energy though still Union Jack drive it with an instinctive aggression which commands attention. Another song which easily has feet and hips in tandem and the spirit railing against the world; it is one fun and impressive warm up for the album’s best track. Don’t Look Back swiftly steals favourite spot, laying the seeds with its psychobilly nurtured bass slaps and sealing the deal with its Tiger Army like groove. From there the band’s punk heart drives the thrills; ska licks and senses rapping beats as well as elements reminding of bands like The Vox Dolomites and The Peacocks treats in the track’s heady swing.

Through the raucously catchy skirmish of Summer Waves, a song with a Buzzcocks like hook to lick lips over, and the ska infested rock ‘n’ roll of The Globe, the captivating aural roughhousing only sparks new waves of pleasure. The underlying variety in the album’s sound is also further highlighted though You and I returns to the more expected Union Jack musical ruckus with no complaints offered. It still springs a smart web of melodies and hooks though to stand apart with a Biting Elbows like rock/punk invention adding extra spice to its scrap.

It is an essence which also infests the excellent Bones, a coincidental similarity to the just mentioned Russian band no bad thing as the song twists and turns with quarrelsome anthemic chest beating before slipping away for Hate To Say Goodbye to close things off, the slither of music a reprise to that first welcome by Supersonic.

The album is a real joy deserving the attention of all those with an appetite for ska punk and punk rock in any guise.

Supersonic is released February 1st on Beer Records in collaboration with Guerilla Asso, Old Town Bicyclette, and Riot Ska Records for the UK, and through https://unionjack.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/badska/

Pete RingMaster 01/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright