The Chisel Retaliation LP
It’s grim up north, and few articulate this better than the CHISEL’s seasider songsmith Cal Graham. Over a blistering 30-minute debut, ably backed by a motley crew of London punk luminaries, his stentorian vocals explore the crushing mundanity of working class life; from small-town bullies, post-Thatcherite social decay, and police brutality. However, despite sounding like he’s permanently just had his pint spilled, there’s a relentless defiance, and sense of solidarity that runs throughout Retaliation like a stick of Blackpool rock, twinned with the kind of soaring guitars and thunderous drums that would make BLITZ or the PARTISANS proud; it’s a joyous affair. An uneasy truce between the best bits of Oi!, UK82, even a dash of anarcho and hardcore too, the CHISEL’s debut occupies the same space as that moment after a last-minute winner hits the back of the net and the ecstatic embrace immediately following could quite easily become a headlock; vim and vigour, piss and vinegar. An instant classic.