Tuesday, November 28, 2006

 

Zounds


No this is not a typing error but the name of an English anarcho punk band from the late 70's early 80's. The Zounds, meaning God's wounds, were formed in Reading, the town of the festival of the same name - enough to make anyone become an anarchist, by Steve Lake, influenced by the fashionable Sex Pistols and Velvet Underground their first gigs were in '77. Little by little the collective became more and more politically inclined due to problems with the police and their growing concern with international political events, by the end of the decade they were regulars on the free festival circuit. A chance meeting with Crass, after their van broke down close by the Epping Forest anarchists commune, led to them becoming friends, despite their musical divergence they were both on the same wave length politically. 1980 saw the release of their first single on Crass Records 'Can't Cheat Karma' a nursery rhythm style piece of political rhetoric. This was followed by much touring with fellow label mates including the Poison Girls. A second single saw the light of day on Rough Trade, 'Demystification', that many years later was to be described on Julian Cope's web site as being an absolute classic of modern psychedelica, our attention was drawn in particular to the similarity between Will Seargent's guitar style and the singles chiming guitar sound. The band stayed with Rough Trade for the sole album also released in 1981 'The Curse of the Zounds', recorded in five days as were many independent releases in those days, it boasted a strong visual in its cover by anarchist artist Clifford Harper and music and lyrics that did not disappoint. My personal favorite from this gem of an album is 'Did He Jump' a song in two parts the first displays shade of Dylan compositions such as 'Hollis Brown' with its moody build up story telling style with a heavily sarcastic English accent that could almost be termed folky, the song's second part is more punky in it's pace, though at 8 minutes long it was anything but punk. As they say all good things come to an end and the band were no more by the end of 1982, Steve Lake citing his disillusionment with the anarchist movement and extreme fatigue caused by touring as the reasons. Despite the split they have reconvened on a number of occasions such as 2001 with a single 'This Land' in support of the McLibel campaign and 2005 with the ep 'Go All The Way' where they expressed their feelings concerning US anti terror policy. 1993 saw a CD release and repackaging of their album to include all their previous singles that is still on catalog today and well worthy of a place in your record collection.

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