Newtown Neurotics


Newtown Neurotics Beggars Can Be Choosers LP reissue

The opening of “Wake Up” reminds me a lot of THATCHER ON ACID, but then the sounds shift into a guitar-forward production that sounds like a slightly downtuned UNDERTONES or even BUZZCOCKS. A heavy infusion of pop, but with a fully punk rock delivery. Lead singer and guitarist Steve Drewett wears his anarcho-syndicalist badge proudly with lyrics about working class problems and the failings of our public education systems. “Get Up and Fight” is a resistance song that outlines methods of struggle that are as equally crucial now as when the song was originally written. In all, this disc plays like a really pissed-off BILLY BRAGG or JOE STRUMMER.

Newtown Neurotics Kick Out! LP

In the years immediately following World War II, Clement Attlee’s Labour government passed the New Towns Act 1946. It was emblematic of the Attlee ministry, typified by a series of post-war rebuilding projects including the establishment of the welfare state and the nationalisation of large swathes of industry. One of these post-war “new towns” was Harlow, home of the NEWTOWN NEUROTICS. It’s perhaps the perfect place for a band like them to be from; a living monument to the last great socialist government projects, now left to rot by a Thatcherite systematic dismantling of society. This compilation contains NEWTOWN NEUROTICS’ first six singles, and tracks their movement from bop-along ’77 acolytes to the nakedly political polemicists they became. Steve Drewett’s BILLY BRAGG-esque syllabic contortions are the perfect vehicle for his three-minute manifestos railing against the injustices of the increasingly fascist society in which he found himself. Stand out tracks like “Kick Out The Tories” and “Fools” still remain sadly relevant and resonant, but it’s the version of “Mindless Violence / Andy Is a Corporatist” with ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER from the Son of Oi! comp which stays with you. The follies of being a far-right skin, and one perhaps for all the silly boys at the shows wearing their naughty merch thinking they’re a big man. An utterly vital record.

Newtown Neurotics Suzi 12″

The NEWTOWN NEUROTICS again display their complete command of the ’77-style punk style with these three highly melodic up-tempo bursts. “Suzi” qualifies as a finely honed bit of pop-punk in the best English tradition, and the two songs on the flip are almost up to the same standard. Is this band capable of putting out a bad record? No.

Newtown Neurotics Blitzkrieg Bop EP

The NEWTOWN NEUROTICS’ command of melodic ’77-style punk is reconfirmed with this single. They cover the RAMONES’ classic, but add explicitly anti-war lyrics in an effort to increase its salience as ’80s political punk; the change works, though the vocals aren’t as affecting as Joey Ramone’s. On the flipside, they reprise the splendid song from their debut single, “Hypocrite.”

Newtown Neurotics Kick Out the Tories / Mindless Violence 7″

After a two-or-more-year vinyl hiatus, the NEUROTICS are back with a stirring critique of both the reactionary Thatcherites (“Tories”) and assorted violent headcases. They’ve abandoned their earlier garage quality in favor of more melodic, well-produced sound, but without completely sacrificing their appeal.