Subhumans
The Day the Country Died


5.0
classic

Review

by Francis Jones USER (32 Reviews)
October 17th, 2006 | 11 replies | 7,310 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Allow me to introduce Dick Lucas, with sharp witted lyrics a raspy voice and a furious band The Subhumans, spelled [SUB][HUM][ANS] as many studded leather jackets will tell you. They were not the usual early eighties punk rock band, not quite falling in w

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

There was only one year to go when this record was recorded, and Orwell's paranoid classic work '1984' really informed Dick Lucas' lyrics. Most of the music press are in agreement that The Clash's 'London Calling' or The Sex Pistols 'Never mind the Bollocks here's the...' are the essential punk rock records. This is the same press that declared punk rock a spent force when Sid Vicious shook his mortal coil with a copious heroin dose courtesy of his doting mother. By 1983 The Clash had abandoned their furious punk rock roots, the Sex Pistols had disastrously split and the press was clamouring for the first publication of ''the next big thing''.

However, punk rock was far from over. Once the movement had lost its mainstream popularity, only those who really wanted to be a part of it were left. Gone were Vivienne Westwood’s brilliantly offensive torn t-shirts, now it was more likely an all black uniform with striking symbols of peace and anarchy painted on the garments. The imagery of Crass and Discharge was the uniform of choice. But where was the sense of humour? Although Crass did use a lot of humour to make their points, so many people missed the joke. Where was the sarcasm and wit akin to Jello Biafra for the UK scene?

Allow me to introduce Dick Lucas, with sharp witted lyrics a raspy voice and a furious band The Subhumans, spelled [SUB][HUM][ANS] as many studded leather jackets will tell you. They were not the usual early eighties punk rock band, not quite falling in with the anarcho punks due to their melodic music, nor did they fit in with the Oi! Crowd, as their lyrics detailed more than football, fighting and alcohol.

The lyrics are one of the best things about this record, the well read band wrote very well informed and incisive lyrics, with a wide range of subjects. With subject matter ranging from nuclear war and destruction on a national scale to squat parties, the band has played many squat gigs over the years.

The frightening front cover depicts an anarcho punk being shot through the head amidst a frenzy of oppressive imagery, such as the solemn priest, a policeman with a wicked grin and nuclear missiles flying through the air. This may lead people to believe it will be an equally frightening listen, however, the Subhumans have a keen ear for melody as well as damning riffs. One minute the melody is slow dark and frightening, the next fast paced, righteous and furious. This fits the subject matter perfectly, fast minor chords with anxious lyrics concerning Lucas’ smoking habits one minute, and terrifying warnings of a nuclear holocaust the next.

The record begins with the ominous ambience of an empty wasteland, with the sound of a falling bomb, before the crash however the music begins with muted chords and the unforgettable chorus of “So long to the world, that’s what they said, it’s 1984 and it’s all gone dead”. Each song tears straight into the next, which unusual for early 1980s anarcho records, which often feature television and radio broadcasts between their songs, on this record, the Subhumans make their point just using their lyricism and fast paced punk rock music.

The highlights of the record are “Minority”, “Mickey Mouse Is Dead”, “Subvert City”, “No” and “No More Gigs”.

Minority makes an anxious attack on majority rules, angry that most of societies decisions are made to benefit the majority who don’t even understand the issue. This goes straight into the ‘’Dun dun dun dun’’ guitar intro to ‘’Mickey Mouse Is Dead’’ with Lucas’ angered chant tearing over the top, then the guitars thrash onwards at blistering speed, with lyrics concerning the tampering and over serious explanations of cartoons, this then builds up to the chant of “1 2 3 4 Look what you’ve done to Mickey Mouse” usually the tune of “We don’t want your ***ing war” this is an example of the way Subhumans were a bit too serious for most of the anarcho crowd.

“Subvert City” is the most obvious nod towards Orwell’s 1984 novel. ‘’Borrowing’’ its riff from The Vibrators ‘’Troops Of Tomorrow’’ it is a narrative tale of those who fight for liberty now, will control with fear in the future, set in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, ‘’Subvert City’’ remains one of Subhumans finest moments.

“No” begins with the ever memorable opening line of “No I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, cos my mother dies of cancer when I was five. No I don’t believe in religion, I was forced to go to church when I was five” the common punk rock subject of religion, getting a good hateful once over. The song doesn’t stop there though, continuing to disregard the police, fashion, the system and it’s media. Like a continuation of “Minority” this is written as a response to claims of “It’s not that bad” and “You’ll grow out of it”, something many punks believe they will NEVER do.

“No More Gigs” is the records ultimate statement; it’s a vicious attack on straight society. Angry at peoples apathy towards modern cultural efforts and information, and their willingness to conform to the whims of the music press “all their money wasted, on David Bowie LPs”.

Although a David Bowie record would not be an unwise purchase, this record is truly one of the best punk rock records of all time, and doesn’t deserve to be ignored or forgotten.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
tom79
October 17th 2006



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review, I've heard some music from this band (and the Canadian Subhumans who actually formed first), it I liked it, though I havent heard much other 'anarcho-punk' like Crass. I can't find this anywhere though.
and the release date to yoThis Message Edited On 10.17.06

Digging: David Dondero - South of the South

smokersdieyounger
October 17th 2006



672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album was already posted before my review, and I forgot about the release date, I'll go sort that now.

I do know about the canadian band, but I haven't heard them so didn't feel I could properly comment on them.

I got mine through amazon marketplace, it was imported from the US, so I guess they ship everywhere. Or just download it.

tom79
February 21st 2007



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sucks this didn't more attention/comments. Listening to it again, its better than I remembered.

descendents1
February 22nd 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the subhumans are SO good

i thought my review would spawn more interest as well

this is really a classic

BJtheman
March 30th 2007



15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

about the canadian subhumans- they arent as bad as everyone claims. they definitely arent worthy of carring the same name as the english subhumans, but completely disregarding them as a band and everything they did is pretty harsh.

smokersdieyounger
March 30th 2007



672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hate it when some punk rockers try to be more underground by claiming they prefer the canadian goup.

descendents1
June 18th 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have never heard of the canadians being more popular than these guys. Subhumans [UK] are incredible.

demigod!
May 31st 2011



44132 Comments


mickey mouse is dead!!

Digging: Failure - Magnified

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2012



49980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No one jams this, so sad. Rats has 7 ratings, makes me sad

Digging: Armchairpolitician - Seven Segment Decoder

demigod!
April 22nd 2013



44132 Comments


it's 1984 and its all gone DEEEEEAAAAAADDDD!!!

slumdog21
July 22nd 2013



1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love how I discovered these guys because of a bad breakup, I tried the sappy shit but it just made me depressed, and then I saw a link to this song titled Mickey Mouse is Dead, so I gave it a listen and fuck you ex girlfriend I'm happy again!



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