The original members of Simple Minds are due to work together for the first time in 27 years when they enter a recording studio in the middle of June ’08. In an event that many never thought would happen again, Brian McGee, Derek Forbes, Mick McNeil, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, have set their aim on producing at least two new tracks that could be released later this year.

Regarded by both Jim and Charlie as a ‘nice experiment’, particularly as it falls within their 30 year anniversary, the week-long reformation is being viewed as one of many ‘let’s see what happens’ ideas that they look forward to working on over the course of the next year.

Jim Kerr said "Of course I am excited with the prospect of working with the original line – up once more. I had always believed that the day would come when we would get the opportunity to do so. The last time we worked together was on our Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call album, featuring songs like The American, Themes for Great Cities, Love Song etc, and it is still considered by many as among our best ever work. We have a lot to live up to, but we intend to have some fun attempting to do just that."

Visit for more news regarding the June recording sessions.

The band also play 30th anniversary shows in the UK from Nov with Deacon Blue supporting:

27th – Manchester MEN Arena
28th – Birmingham NEC
29th – London Wembley Arena

1st – Sheffield Arena
2nd – Cardiff International Arena
4th – Glasgow SECC


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Iconic Motorhead legend Lemmy will have a film made about his life. The movie, imaginatively titled ‘Lemmy: The Movie’, will be directed and produced by Greg Oliver and Wes Orshoski and will feature testimonials from Alice Cooper, Dave Grohl, Steve Vai and wrestler Triple H! Bring on the Overkill!

Check out more on the film at

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The Sex Pistols have added dates in Russia to their world tour this year. Alongside shows in the UK, Italy, Sweden, Poland and France, the punks have now added two Russian dates to the tour at the end of June at St Petersburg and Moscow. John Lydon has said of the additions “Russia is a very nice place.”

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Nancy Spungen’s death is said to have been recreated for a film which premieres at the Cannes film festival on 23rd May called Chelsea on the Rocks. The film documents the “personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from the residence.” Sid Vicious can also be seen in the archive footage.

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Iggy and The Stooges are heading to London’s Clapham Common this summer to headline the Get Loaded in the Park Festival. The music fest takes place on the August bank holiday weekend – 24th August – and is Iggy and The Stooges’ only UK show on sale. This year’s festival goers will also be attempting to beat the world record for the largest number of people doing the ‘running man’ dance at one time, aiming to have over 2000 people getting their groove on.
Tickets are £35, see to book.

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Legendary LA punk rockers X have reformed with the original line up to do a 31st Anniversary Tour across America. John Doe, Exene, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake will be travelling across the states until June 2008. Formed in 1977 when Billy Zoom and John Doe placed near identical ads in a paper looking to start a band, Exene and DJ Bonebrake were quick to join the outfit. Their iconic 1980 album Los Angeles resonated so loudly with the citizens of LA that the band received an Official Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles in acknowledgment of their important contributions to Los Angeles music and culture, and the reunion tour looks set to be a scorcher.For full tour dates see

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100 Club
May 6th


It’s a bit of a fantasy line-up, really. Late additions to the bill THE NIPPLE ERECTORS (or Nips, if we’re in polite company) was, of course, the musical springboard for one Shane McGowan – who actually turns up. I mean, there was a healthy book running on whether or not this would be a no-show (which his old cohort and comrade Shanne on bass wryly alluded to by stating from the outset "welcome to our rehearsal"), But there he was, in vintage punk rock togs too. "Fuck off," he barked, by way of greeting, and it felt perversely affectionate. And, in stark contrast to some latter day Pogues shows I’ve witnessed, he sang like he meant it. There was some wonderful by-play with Shanne – his romantic as well as musical partner back in the heady days of ‘76, let’s not forget – and when he did stumble off cue (notably on ‘King Of The Bop’) he’d instinctively flash alternately sheepish/worried glances stage right. In the end he visibly fed off her confidence and the set just swung by. Everyone sang along to ‘Gabrielle’, as you would expect – including Shanne’s daughter on backing vocals. A great feel-good performance.

It is impossible to describe the appeal of JOHNNY MOPED to anyone who isn’t already an initiate. The tall but true tales of ‘kitchen porter Johnny’’s attempts to get a day pass from his famously intolerant wife in order to transmogrify into ‘rock ‘n’ roll Johnny’ have amused for years. But he seems in genuine good spirits here, pale belly slumping over too-tight trousers, alongside trademark black leather jacket. The ‘look’, which you will not be seeing on the catwalks of Milan or Paris this summer, is completed by improbably large NHS specs, from beneath which he squints as his face is engulfed by sweat. Perspiring like a darts player on a treadmill, he was nevertheless ready when the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll came and took him, as we all demanded. And what a great, tight sound his band produced – ‘Hard Lovin’ Man and ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’ were present and correct, and sounded better than I remembered them (and it has been a long time). People danced and cheered; Johnny beamed like a giddy six-year-old, and the years fell away from his, and our, frames. Everybody should have a fantasy alter ego like Johnny’s, they really should.

THE CUTE LEPERS must have been amused by their headline performance being hijacked by a bunch of ne’er do well ‘77 old-stagers, but it didn’t knock them off stride. It’s a great show, what with the three energetic backing singers and all (though someone have a word about sticking your finger in your ear to harmonise, that’s just unseemly at a punk rock gig). But beneath the showmanship the songs are all there too – with shades of Strummer/Jones on a couple of their cross-layered numbers, echoes of glam rock stomp and the Ramones elsewhere – full on and lots of fun throughout. Impressive, not least for holding the attention and winning the approval of a large section of the crowd who’d really only turned up for the support acts and could easily have ghosted away.

All that for six quid. Who says you can’t have cheap fun in London these days?

Alex Ogg

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MY DRUG HELL – This is My Drug Hell (2007 reissue)


Welcome reissue of long-lost nineties classic.
Logging the myriad joys and pains of a west London hipster’s existence, Tim Briffa and his My Drug Hell caught a moment with their 1997 debut, a snapshot of W10 before the high street giants and the yummy mummies annexed the main drag . ‘This Is My Drug Hell’ recalls an altogether gentler age when a down-at-heel rock’n’roller could still bag himself a nifty psychedelic shirt up the ‘bella for under a tenner without too much trouble, yet for all nostalgia‘s undeniably warm glow what’s striking about this reissue is how bang-on sharp it still sounds. MDH adeptly channeled sixties rock’s darker currents into a jaggedly efficient three piece dynamic, underpinning Briffa’s bittersweet observations on life and love in the shadow of the Trellick tower. Unearthing them now, it’s all the more perplexing that MDH never broke out into the bigger league; You Were Right, I Was Wrong still conjures up bust-ups you thought you’d long forgotten, and the near-hit Girl At The Bus Stop is one of the great shoulda-beens of British pop, a sublime lovelorn moment. The long-promised follow-up album has yet to materialise of course, but for now, the dark pop shimmer of My Drug Hell’s debut is once again yours to savor..
Hugh Gulland

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Big Cheese looks at THE CLASH‘s singles collection and peels back some of the layers surrounding punk rock’s most vital band….

The Clash’s singles signposted a generation. They may never have been proper big hits, the band’s refusal to play the ‘Top Of The Pops’ game prevented most of them from even being in the top 20 but each one was a gem. They carried the consciousness of punk rock in each brilliant salvo, each one a missive from the rock ‘n’ roll frontline telling the band’s adventurous journey from punk rock machine gun guitars to New York rap-influenced salvos and all with a staccato heartfelt beat.

Bursting onto the scene in mid ’76 they were the sound of punk positive- if the Pistols did the necessary and brutal nihilistic thing scouring the bland pop world of the mid seventies the Clash set about with the rebuilding.

Each single was an education in itself: searing heartfelt lyrics from Joe Strummer coupled with Mick Jones’s genius guitar and arrangement skills. The rhythm section of Paul Simonon’s dub-influenced grooves and mostly Topper Headon’s killer drums were crucial as well.

The early singles that punctuated punk’s heyday sound deceptively simple, but are complex little beasts rushing round with an amphetamine-fed fury and sharp intelligence that has set the template for just what a punk rock song. Even 30 years later you can hear their influence all over bands from Rancid to Green Day to the Libertines and many more- a pretty bizarre catchall of guitar gunslingers who owe something to The Clash who are still perhaps the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band that ever stalked the earth. The recently released ‘Singles Box Set’ has all the singles, b-sides and remixes, a potted history of a band who never once rested on their laurels, who mixed and matched every rebel music there was into a huge sprawling collection of music that still make you want to get up off your arse and create. How perfect is that?

As opening salvos go this is pretty much perfect. ‘White Riot’ is the Clash at their most 1-2-3-4. This song sums up 1977-staccato guitars played fast, sped up by the momentous Ramones gig at the Roundhouse in 1976 that made all the nascent British punk bands get up to speed. The Clash’s original garage band sound of souped-up sixties hipster rock ‘n’ roll went through a metamorphosis after Da Brudders’ sonic salvo. Much misunderstood, the song details the Notting Hill Riots that were chanced upon by Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon during the long hot summer of 1976 and asks why couldn’t the white man fight back as well.

1977 was in full revolutionary swing and the Clash are the heroes of the counterculture, so what does the record label do? It puts out a single without telling the band. The Clash are furious- suddenly they realise that signing to CBS is not going to be the way they envisaged it. ‘Remote Control’ is a fine song but hardly the incendiary broadside required for the summer of hate. While The Pistols were releasing ‘God Save The Queen’ the Clash were being made fools of by the limp-wristed meddlers of the record label. It was going to be worth it though…

The band’s reaction to the ‘Remote Control’ debacle was fantastic, for many this is the finest punk single, a song about being trapped by your record label, a song of defiance and one of the first Clash songs that detailed their own battles. ‘Complete Control’ has it all: it’s anthemic, it’s heartfelt, it’s got a fantastic guitar solo and an amazing outro where Joe Strummer’s ad-libs sound like a man who has completely lost it as he rants and raves like a madman. It was sort of produced by the inventor of dub Lee Scratch Perry but you can’t really tell-it’s a nice link though between the vanguard of punk and the mastermind behind the genius Jamaican music.

In which the Clash go overboard on their own mythology and somehow it works. Great rock ‘n’ roll songs should celebrate the band as a gang and few bands have looked a much like a gang of street smarts as The Clash. Now widely recognised as the number one punk band after the Pistols’ messy auto destruction, The Clash swagger like all great rock ‘n’ roll bands should with a zigzag riff half-inched from The Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain’. It’s another song of defiance from The Clash- a subject matter instantly understood by the put-upon punk rock generation.


Perhaps the closest The Clash came to a signature tune and the song that always had the whole crowd singing along at Joe Strummer’s gigs right up to his heartbreaking death, ‘White Man…’ distilled everything that was perfect in the Clash vision. Many talked about reggae but The Clash were the first punk rock band to cross its intoxicating rhythms with their own spiel. On their debut album they covered Junior Marvin’s ‘Police And Thieves’, stripping the song down for a six-minute workout that was perfect in its simplicity. With ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ they went one further and wrote their own roots rock radical punky reggae party. Strummer writes about the alienation he felt at a reggae gig at the Hammersmith Palais that he went to with Clash mate and key player Don Letts in 1977 and also how he felt let down by the lack of revolutionary fervour coming from the stage. The song then addresses the punk generation and warns the revolutionaries that ‘the British army is waiting out there’. It’s a brilliant contradictory lyric that captures the confused and dangerous politics of the time, a time when revolution was in the air and a generation believed that if they listened to the records hard enough then the massed ranks of Doc Marten-ed youth could take the world. The Clash made music that made you feel like that.

You had to be there to believe how militant we all felt. Walking down the streets dressed as punks was like asking for a civil war of your own, there was plenty of kick offs – Britain in the late seventies was a violent place – a place of lairy drunks battling punks, the inherent violence was driven right through the state. The song addressed the military, the British violence and the counterculture clashes. Based on an older Irish folk song, from around 1802, called ‘Johnny We Hardly Knew You’, which was almost forgotten until the American Civil War of the mid 1800’s when it was resurrected (and still sung in America) as ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’. The Clash took the old folk song and turned it into a punk anthem, subtly making the point that punk was also the only genuine English folk music that could be heard.

The first sign of the new Clash was this cover of Sonny Curtis of the Crickets garage band staple that was a hit for Bobby Fuller in 1966, hitting the top of the charts the week that Fuller himself was found murdered. The song is a wry take on hassle with the cops – The Clash had run-ins with the law but it was mainly for minor on-the-road stuff like nicking pillows from hotel rooms and minor drug busts. But out there on the British streets the thuggish old guard of cops were making their presence felt and many a young punk could identify with this song’s brilliant chorus.

The initial punk scene had burned out in spiral of bad drugs and nihilism. 1979 was a scary year – apocalypse and right wing governments were the order of the day. The Clash returned to the scene looking for an escape route from punk’s studded straightjacket. Suited and quaffed-up looking like punk rock Mafiosi, it was the coolest look they ever came up with and one that the surviving band members return to this day. Apocalyptic fervour ruled the day, there was a darkness on the edge of town and people genuinely felt that there was going to be a nuclear war. The Clash caught all that paranoia in this, the title track of their upcoming double album. Hinting at the darker territories of the newly-emerged Joy Division, the song is a rumble of dark thunder, a brilliant evocation of cold war paranoia over a slashing guitar motif. An absolute classic.

Now really daring to break the mould, The Clash made this extraordinary record, a huge billowing cloud of dope-fuelled melodrama that unrolled a romantic spliff-driven drama about a bankrobber. The Clash never sounded so romantic as the song sprawls out and tells its atmospheric Bonnie and Clyde on the streets of Brixton tale. Recorded in Manchester surrounded by a bunch of 13 year old kids who would grow up to be the Stone Roses, ‘Bankrobber’ was a surprisingly huge hit and underlined The Clash’s potential escape route from the punk style that they had patented.


Further adventures in dub from the first single to be released from the band’s wholly ambitious triple album set, ‘Sandinista!’ The song may have been a laidback groove, another big sprawling epic like ‘Bankrobber’ but its succinct lyrics looked at the call up, warning of taking heed of the world situation and how it may come home to roost, the band’s anti-war left wing politics were still firmly in place as the cold war started to heat up.

Another release from ‘Sandinista!’, an odd choice as well, for the first time since ‘Remote Control’ the Clash had a single that sounded better as a key album track, a song that celebrated the plethora of small labels that had sprung up in the white heat environment of DIY punk, ‘Hitsville UK’ was one of the least known Clash singles.


If punk tore up the rulebook for rock ‘n’ roll, rap was doing the same kind of thing on the streets of the USA. Always hip to the ghetto soundtrack, The Clash were instantly attracted to the new rebel sound literally pouring off the streets of New York City. ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is perhaps the first attempt by a white rock band to harness the new rhythms, the new attack, coming off the streets and although they never get the credit for it, The Clash were first and foremost in introducing this new culture to many millions of ears.


At one time the Clash planned to have their own radio station. The radio then as now was at war with the white heat creatives, and typically boring. Punk rock was not getting a look in and with wild-eyed abandon Joe promised us a Clash funded radio station that would try and redress the balance. Of course it never came to fruition, but that was the beauty of the Clash- they dared to dream. This song is all that’s left from the grand idea. It’s another brilliant document of the band going native in New York City in the early eighties – another rap/punk crossover way before anyone else ever did it.

Joe’s new mohawk meant business: The Clash had been out of the picture for some time. Music had slumped into a morass of New Romantic tomfoolery, you either went with the flow or fought back. And the Clash only knew one way. The Clash’s new look was combat fatigues and big fuck-off boots, this was The Clash at war with everything, with everybody. The Clash were back snarling and angrier than ever and this song, one of the great Clash songs, was the manifesto. The Clash had been wandering: ‘Sandinista!’ was a sprawling fog of different sounds and styles, sounds and styles they brilliantly executed but many yearned for a return to the short sharp shock of the classic Clash. I can still pinpoint the minute when I first heard ‘Know Your Rights’, this was the Clash stripped down and back in action, a call to arms, it was the closest they every got to releasing their political manifesto but "with guitars" as Strummer sang. From Mick’s clanking guitar chords in the intro to the spaghetti western guitar break- this is one of the great Clash singles, the electric buzz of excitement was everywhere and after the triple album set of ‘Sandinista!’ the news that The Clash were doing a stripped down single album, ‘Combat Rock’ made many feel that the band were going back to their roots.

Topper Headon was the best drummer of his generation. He made the complicated sound simple- just listen to those records again, those drum rolls are blissful – Topper also wrote the odd song, including this, the Clash’s biggest ever hit. He played all the instruments as well. Joe dashed off a lyric about the religious and cultural tension in the Middle East and the Clash had their only top ten hit in America ready to roll.

Mick’s rock ‘n’ roll anthem sounded more like the Rolling Stones than The Clash, but then what’s the point of the Clash if they can’t play classic rock ‘n’ roll as well as hip hop and punk rock. The riff was actually pinched from one of Mick’s pre-Clash favourites, the Sharks, the swaggering stub toed riff that the song rides in on. This was the Clash at their most stadium friendly, a jukebox classic with accompanying video footage from the Shea Stadium support with the Who that shows the Westway wonders taking their rock ‘n’ roll to the masses in USA. The song is still a staple on American classic radio and still cuts through after all these years. Proof that the Clash were more than able to cut a populist rabble-rousing anthem if they felt like it.

The Clash’s epitaph. After the worldwide success of the ‘Combat Rock’ album Mick had been thrown out and the Clash had toured as an expanded five piece. The last album was a shoddy affair, mainly because of the bizarre production – an attempt to coerce Joe’s rudimentary punk anthems into some sort of Malcolm Maclaren style hip ‘Duck Rock’ hip hop extravaganza by people who didn’t know what they were doing. Joe is barely there and Paul is not there at all. It’s a shame as live bootlegs point to the songs’ capacity for great rowdiness and there are some brilliant lyrical twists and turns. They may lack Mick’s smart touch but there was still a good band lurking in the last line-up of the Clash. But despite all this, one song managed to survive the studio mauling. The Clash’s last single is Joe’s heartfelt paean to England, a sentimental and sad song of a country sold to the dogs – an anthem for the dispossessed and the broken that came out in the middle of the miners’ strike as the last great bastion of working class pride in the UK was crushed by Thatcher’s droogs. ‘This Is England’ is a lament to a tough time, a bruised yet patriotic song. It works perfectly and is an oddly suitable sign-off for the band as they staggered to a halt in 1985.

‘The Clash: Singles Box Set’ is out now on Sony/BMG

John Robb

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To be in with a chance of winning this awesome new graphic novel (out in June through Omnibus Press) about the antics of one of the most dangerous punk bands ever, THE SEX PISTOLS, just answer this simple question:

Q: What was the infamous Daily Mirror headline after the Grundy incident on TV in 1976?

Send your answer, name and address to

Good luck!

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of last month’s RUTS DVDs competition – KAREN ANN CLARK and SAM GIDMAN.
Expect your copies in the post soon!

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Vive Le Punk takes a quick butchers at the craziest sideburns in rock ‘n’ roll history! If you have any more to add to this glorious gallery email us with a pic and info at

ALVIN STARDUST – With sidies like this no wonder he found God!

CRAZY CAVAN – The hairy king of the Teddy Boys.

ELVIS PRESLEY – The sidies go hand in hand with the hit songs and the burgers.

BRIAN SETZER – The rockabilly legend’s face creepers are as wild as Stray Cats.

LINK WRAY – The rock ‘n’ heroes’ sidies rumbled down his face all his life.

NODDY HOLDER – With these beasts the glamtastic grandad has always Slade his sidie rivals.

JESSE HECTOR – The former Hammersmith Gorilla was indeed pretty hairy! Almighty face fuzz.


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BE YOUR OWN PET – Get Awkward


Teen angst gets a sexy electro overhaul.
The second, more refined album from the Nashville foursome sees erratic garage rock at it’s most blinding and abrasive. Like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on speed, singer Jemina Pearl sweetly snarls (yes a contradiction but it works!) punk vitriol over angular guitars with a series of fast and bewildering songs. From defying growing up in ‘Super Soaked’, to violent high school bitterness in ‘Becky’ and a refreshing rockabilly feel to anti-love song ‘Zombie Graveyard Party’ reminiscent of Zombina And The Skeletones; ‘love is lame so let me eat your brain’. Pearl’s vocals range from sugary sweet to a gravel voiced vixen, flowing deliciously along with the sheer dynamism of the album, briefly finding its softer moments with indignant ‘You’re A Waste’. A collection of raw and frantic pop songs with a punk heart that chronicle growing up in a refreshing and surprisingly mature manner.
Sarah Cakebread

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BURNT CROSS – Carcass of Humanity


Modern UK anarcho duo.
Comprising solely of brothers Paul and Rob Marriott, and, Burnt Cross, who formed last year in Brighton, now take up the mantle of old-fashioned anarcho punk, all recorded on an 8-track desk in Rob’s bedroom. Full marks for determination and ingenuity, then, with integrity taken as read (even the worst anarcho types meant well), but how do the boys shape up musically? Well, with their self-imposed restrictions of genre, personnel and recording facilities, the lads have done well, displaying decent songwriting and undoubted commitment that would have easily ranked alongside the likes of Crass et al back in the day.
Shane Baldwin

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(Bad Dog)
Original Sarf Lahndan OI!-sters, still with us
It was a sad day when guitarist Steve Whale left long-standing Oi! outfit the Business, but singer Micky Fitz soldiers on, and the three powerful new recordings on this ep bode well for the future of the band, even if they are all covers. The title track is an old Status Quo song, and one of their better ones, but the stand-out is the Professionals’ classic ‘1-2-3′, as Fitz’s vocals aren’t a million miles away from Steve Jones’ original. Shame the track listing gets it and the Bruisers’ ‘Til The End’ the wrong way round. The ep is rounded off nicely with an impromptu 15 minute live set recorded at the Marquee way back in June 1982, and treat it is too.
Shane Baldwin

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Solo venture from L7 frontwoman
Donita Sparks is something of a stateswoman of rock, recording this on her own label and as a founder of CASH (which seeks to find sustainable ways of making music a sustainable livelihood) she’s fiercely independent, this is reflected in her music. There’s very much the Joan Jett about her, the riffs rock, the production is glam but dirty and the melodies part agro part angel. ‘Dare Dare’ is a great, sleazy pop song, part the Breeders part the Donnas it’s the albums highlight. The rest of the album is competent and this is incredibly well arranged, the only downfall is the lack of songs as strong as ‘Dare Dare’ and the occasional veer into MOR rock.
Jonathan Falcone

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DOWN & OUTS – Friday Night, Monday Mornings


(Dead & Gone)
Second full length from these scouse melodic punk scallywags
It’s always great to hear Brit punk spat forth in its native tongue and the snotty Liverpudlian accents on this record really adds to the already tasty mix of early ’77 style punk ala Clash or Buzzcocks with the more modern ‘90s Bay Area, Lookout sound of Green Day or Rancid. The eleven tracks here are pure working class punk anthems citing the weekly timetable of humdrum work followed by weekend partying. It’s gritty yet catchy, is instantly likeable and one that the listener can really relate to. These northern lads have done good!
Miles Hackett

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