Finland believe it or not has a great reputation for melodic hardcore. Manifesto Jukebox were my introduction to this countries capacity for playing such tunes and it has continued since with
Combat Rock Industry being the home to many Finish outfits. This is their second album and first for Waterslide Records. It hasn’t been a stable line up in that time and many bands would have decided to fold under the pressure. Founder member and drummer of the band, Hennka, passed away tragically last year, soon after this records release. Santtu has now taken the sticks and plays them in Hennka’s honour at each gig. Incredibly brave for them to continue after such a tragic accident (Hennka joined those we miss daily after a skateboarding accident).
It is Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Manifesto Jukebox but that is too simple. It is hard and heavy, we can scream along at times, we have tunes and plenty of anthems to raise our fists to.
Blood and sand
Where bear trade make a mockery of the concept of The difficult second album.
Paint a picture in your mind of Northern England and a band singing in the ruins of a derelict building, singing through the grime and dirt and greyness of a country split.
There’s a revolution going on you know, a musical one. Stuart Maconie wrote for a book, stealing a line from the KLF – ‘It’s Grim Up North’. In it it is questioned where Northern England starts. Bear Trade are based in Sunderland which is very much in the right land area but it’s the land mass that is home to the likes of Stay Clean Jolene, Dauntless Elite and most definitely Leatherface. bands that are buring the musical revolution torch. Bear Trade will have the inevitable Leatherface comparisons but I’m putting it to you they’re better. Not Superstitious is one of Leatherfaces finest moments. I’ll never forget hearing Frankie singing it live and thinking it doesn’t get much better. That feeling is replicated right throughout this record. I have a wry smile on my face typing this, that wry smile is constant once bear trade are singing.
These are not just songs, they are stories of life, tales of everyday travels. They are a continuation where the 6 track debut record left off. Whisky On A bluebird was my introduction to Bear Trade. An independent release, brought out by Waterslide records. I heard it and wondered why I’m not reading about this band everywhere. I then researched the band more and found that they had served their apprenticeship and well. Each of the 4 have been in various bands who have been hanging around the english punk scene for years. Punks who went in a different direction, punks that took a tune and gave it an English tyle. Bands like Blocko, Former Cell Mates and Southport. Maybe it’s the northern angle, maybe they just don’t have the ingredients for coolness. A guitar assualt with tunes galore blazing through and a siging style that almost feels like you are sitting having a chat with them.
Reviewing a record isn’t disimilar to putting forward motions at union conferences. The speaker (in this case the reviewer) gives some background to the motion (in this case the record) and ends with the usual line “I urge you to carry this motion” , Well I urge you to listen to the record, maybe even buy it.
My new favourite band