GUIDES

COCK SPARRER – FOREVER

With all the fuss going on about 40 years of punk, exhibitions, leather bound albums or people writing books who once knew a Sex Pistol.

Then the burning of 5 million quid’s worth of memorabilia while people use foodbanks you may think they deserves a rallying cry of Take Em All! put em up against a wall and shoot em. The real 40 years of punk is there to see each and every day from the bands and people who follow them, non more so than Cock Sparrer who have been lifting the roof from venues since 1972! Now today punk has a multitude of titles under its umbrella, Hardcore, Thrash, Street, Skate, Anarchy or traditional to name a few, but hiding in those vinyl or CD collection you will more often than not see a Cock Sparrer tune. As well as cited as an influence for a multitude of bands, these guys have become legends without tarnishing themselves with mainstream record labels or publicity making PR companies.

The songs of Cock Sparrer that ignite a thousand backing singers in a hall are working class anthems, the day to day lives of people put to music with a hook and a chorus. The new album Freedom is not a new direction, its not an experimental stage for the band, there is no orchestra or ukulele added, its Cock Sparrer doing what they do better than any other band and doing it bloody well. The first track One By One takes us back to our school days where these guys met, growing up in a tough environment you need to have your back watched. A rousing chorus rides on the tales of the guitar chords, an invigorating uplifting track putting you on the front foot from the start. There are a couple of weaker tracks on the album such as Believe, not that they are bad songs just that the standard is so high on the others. We head up a notch again with Gonna Be Alright with some instantly recognisable Sparrer lyrics and choruses; we are swept along in the story of a woman’s struggle and the effects on her family.

The production on the album is crisp, clear and powerful with the vocal perfectly balance against the drum and guitars, giving an emotional rush with songs such as Every Step of the Way. It starts with a wartime struggle through lost friends and compatriots with the need to carry on through it all, it has an eeriness and emotion despite the up tempo tune that runs away with you. The highlight of the album for me is Contender this may change with time, but this is classic Cock Sparrer thumping out the beat over some deliberate guitar chords and harmonies. This will be a venue lifting track at any live gigs, not as much in demand as Riot Squad or Working but it’s a Contender for runner up. Now you might say that Cock Sparrer can be a bit sexist in some of their lyrics, Up With This could come under this scrutiny with married life being described from the perspective of a disgruntled man. But this is working class life in all its raw glory, depicting the battle of the sexes we all see in society every day and to dilute this and dress it up for PC acceptance would not be the Cock Sparrer way.

Very few punk bands can proudly claim to have released albums in all decades since the 70s, collecting a catalogue of songs that crosses the divides in punk where other bands fail to tread. They are held in the highest regard by multimillion selling bands, as well as the audiences who clamber for tickets at the slightest murmur of a gig. This new album Forever is just an extension of the legacy that will be left when they hang up their boots, as we won’t have Cock Sparrer forever so make the most of it.