(DL15) - RUNNIN' RIOT - Boots & Ballads
by FungalPunk

A band here that have done their time, paid attention to detail and reaped the benefits massively here with what is a classic album full of well organised songs that reflect an outfit who pack a punch and know how to create a rabble rousing rhythm that is liable to be up there with the best. This is genuine working class Oi that has all the backstreet grime, cobblestone realism and boots and braces passion that so many bands have lost in the midst of their self-inflated egos. For me a true indication of a big-hearted working class outfit.

'Lost Generation' wastes no time in setting a lofty standard with a saturated sound that retains rhythm, breaks sweat and punches hard. Without delay the intention is bared for all to see and the mean-driven song that we have under scrutiny is a fine example of what makes this whole gathering so darn effective. We tunefully enter into the fray before a quick screwdriving screech of taut strings throws us entirely forward and leaves us helpless against a sinewy shout and clout free for all that seems a celebration of all that is good in the world of Oi. The guitar breaks into semi-siren mode on several occasions and almost gives warning of a band that is making a noise not to be trifled with. Full heed is taken and the all-absorbing upheaval pleases no end.

'That's When The Boots Fly In' fires a 4 cymbal alert and then we are bang at it with traditional beefy assertiveness that persuades the noggin to get bobbin' and the boot to set to tapping. Guitars flash and sway with consistent riffage and the drums roll, splash and thud maintaining time and giving strong foundation. It's more of the same for 'The Estate' with gritty deliveries all around and the same steady production. No complaints at all and the chorus here is pure crowd pleasing stuff that accentuates the whole composition no end. All is forthright and has a subtle undercurrent of being perturbed of the way things are with the ingrained anger being restrained but effective enough to be noticeable and have impact.

After 3 attention-grabbing efforts the tempo and quality raises even higher with the consummate brilliance of 'Double The Pain'. The output bounces along on booted soles of melody before climaxing in a crescendo of splashing perfection that is the chorus. A definitive 'in the pit' moment where the head can just simply 'go' and be given over to the whole fuckin' vibe. Smashing stuff in everyway you can imagine and the entire embodiment of a band who know their 'Oi'nions - and it will make ya fuckin' eyes water too!

'Ode To The Working Man' comes in and promises a ballad. That's what we get - with dirtied hands the saga of the closure of mills and docks are told with how the effects ran deep into the heart of an everyday family and brought about a total despondence. You want spirit - well here we have it shovelled our way with perspiration and utter belief. Get that!

The next three songs are absolutely fuckin' stunners and if ya don't kick your front door off its hinges, go down the local punk rock gig, get plastered and pogo until yer hearts content then I really don't know what will inspire you. A brutality of output, a deep-seated honesty and a vibe of inner violence make these songs shakes arse and create a feeling of such well-being that the punk soul is motivated to move. 'Frank' slams in with ultra-Oi urgency and just builds in momentum as the song progresses. It is a full-contact riot that is brief, makes a lasting impression and moves on into the fray with the helping hand coming in the form of the following 'Bold As Brass'. The song title rings true here with a holistic feel of an all-consuming defiance that relates a tale about a Belfast Punk Rocker, that in truth, could have been written for any one of us with a bit of that spikey old spirit. A chest thumping belief transcends the limiting boundaries of the stereo and we have one of those moments that hits the mark and brings us all together in unifying glory of this dirty, dingy scene in which we dwell. Total fuckin' class and 'King Of The Swig' completes the 3 card trick with a supping serenade to swill yer ale to and one which has you head-banging in entranced appreciation. The musical void is filled with pacey melody and rockin' rhythm that doesn't let up at all. Hard grafted ditties to be played in the boozer - nothing more, nothing less and I love it for this facet only - nowt else needed.

'Tribute' brings the emotive force of the band into play and although much slower in pace wins the day with its heartfelt intent and obvious honest passion. The defiance that death shall not part or defeat is ingrained into the entirety of the track and again full applause to the band for being able to change tack with comfortable ease and still retain the general atmosphere created so far. 'Ballad Of A Gluesniffer' is a fuckin' gem that starts off like some metalised hybrid but soon turns into a chugging monster that will devour up all your resistance with its totally sing-a-long infection and down to earth, relatable lyrics. Anyone who has had a dabble on the old Evo should get well into this and flashback to times when we really didn't give a toss. Those carefree days of buzzing heads is well captured here and no doubt a few of these 'erberts have had a sniff-ter or two in their time.

'On The Dole' finishes in fine style with all components of band and song just adding their own weighty touch and bringing about a purely perfect finale to a CD to relish. Everything good about this whole offering is regurgitated in this final blast and the end result is completed with an emboldened exclamation mark of utter brilliance. There is a secret track 'Oi Oi Angel' to follow and yes it does the business yet this time has a real grooving undercurrent that gives hints at a more rock 'n' roll edge which is coated nicely with Runnin' Riots' glossy touch. I can't fault it and the feminine vocals I hope offer an insight into something extra for the next offer from this frightfully overlooked band who deserve to be one of the real forces in this murky scene.

I hope Runnin' Riot get the accolades they deserve and on the back of this album anyone who plays with these guys better be on form - and I mean anyone! This CD is crack quality and bleeds quality and commitment to the cause. All skinbo’s should get this in their collection immediately and I suggest every other fucker in the scene does so as well - it is an absolute blast.