Words by Craig Pool.
When punk rock was released on the unsuspecting world back in the mid 70’s, it was fuelled by rage. Teenage anger at the lack of opportunities, jobs and the prospect of working in a dirty factory until it killed you brought with it some of the most influential and iconic music in British history. Thirty years down the line came a trio from working class Coventry with just as much anger and energy as the godfathers of punk rock could produce.
It’s been ten years since The Enemy released their debut long-player, We’ll Live And Die In These Towns. Four decades after the emergence of punk rock, it remains one of the finest examples of rage against the system to be recorded.
The record opens with the cry of “Call the police!” by frontman Tom Clarke at the start of the appropriately titled, Aggro. The track sets the tone for the album perfectly by introducing the driving drum beats and big, bold vocals.
Away From Here was The Enemy’s first single and is track two in the album. The message of the song is a classic one and is summed up by the title. “I’m so sick sick sick and tired, of working just to be retired,” Clarke declares in the opening lines. Like so many working class kids, they want out of that minimum wage for boring work cycle that everyone around them is falling into.
The title track of the album however, suggests that they never will break the mould and get away from name badges and company cars. We’ll Live And Die In These Towns is another excellently executed description of working class life for so many young British people.
When they broke out, The Enemy drew a lot of comparisons to the legendary, Woking new wave giants, The Jam. With passion, drive and bags of energy it’s clear to see why. Paul Weller used teenage rage in order to create hard, fast rock and roll and The Enemy definitely followed suit. The tracks It’s Not OK, Technodanceaphobic and 40 Days and 40 Nights demonstrated this perfectly – punk rock in it’s purest form.
Aside from all of the huge riffs and punching bass lines the boys showed us that they could quite easily produce moments of softer, more heartfelt music. Happy Birthday Jane does a great job at bringing the album to a close. “Wake up the sun is shining, shining for you,” gives us a break from the brash and reckless tones of the tracks before it.
However, it is in fact track ten that is the crowning jewel of the album for me. This Song Is About You builds slowly into a passionate and emotional summary of life stuck on minimum wage and spending it all on beer at the weekend because there’s simply nothing better to do.
At times it’s almost as if this record is a social comment by The Enemy and one that they got just right. They’re urging the listener – get yourself out or you will live and die in these towns, and after a huge sold out farewell tour last autumn, these lads from Coventry certainly did get Away From Here. Ten years after It’s release, We’ll Live And Die In These Towns is still an album guaranteed to get your blood racing and feet stomping.
The Enemy have announced they will be doing a special acoustic tour in the summer to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of We’ll Live And Die In These Towns, details can be found here.
Written by Craig Pool, you can follow Craig on twitter here.