Punk has a reputation for being thrashy, immature, angry music; albeit going by the name “Hooligan”, the lads in the band come across as anything but. Steadily and confidently gaining momentum after putting out various singles and EPs (one of which I previously reviewed here), David Linehan and his mates continue to live and breathe the late ’70’s/early ’80s era of true punk music.
That is not to say Hooligan sounds outdated: With four well-crafted and distinctive tracks on wax, they present one of the most refreshing punk sounds I’ve come across in recent years. Whether confronting issues of white, racial self-awareness on the title track, or the sad fate of criminality (‘Cops And Robbers’), there’s a certain maturity in the way the band goes about its business.
Pretentious, though, the band is not: There’s a tribute song, ‘Calling Joe Strummer’, that makes it clear Linehan and co. are only human, and need faith and inspiration just as much as the next guy in order to get by (“We need you more than ever/ ‘Cause London is burning and me/ I’m still on the dole.”)
The darkest track of the EP, ‘Bandit Country’ (which samples Panorama!) proves to be a fitting conclusion, depicting the dangerous and hostile area within Northern Ireland during “the troubles”. What’s more it’s catchy; taking such a serious subject and managing to create a song that is primarily anthemic, without losing any of the grittiness, is really quite something.
I like the title track, I do, but the more I listen to it the more I think the live version is superior. Is that a criticism? Maybe. But it’s also a testimony to the collective talent of a band that is destined to impress many more people with its music in the years to come. (Pick up No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs on orange, green and white vinyl here).