Music Reviews, Non-Fiction

Stiff Little Fingers: No Going Back – album review

Stiff Little Fingers: No Going Back (Pledge Music)No-Going-Back


Available now.



It’s been ten years since SLF last released a studio album (2003’s Guitar and Drum). It’s been a long wait and, judging by how good No Going Back is, I wonder what we’ve missed in that time of studio inactivity. They have been touring though over the past few years – and if you haven’t been to see them then you’re missing out on great shows; like many first wave punk bands they have gotten second wind in their 50s. What else can an old punk rocker do but shout and scream to his dying day? And live they have tried out new songs like Liars Club and My Dark Places. SLF version 2014 includes original members Jake Burns (vocals and lead guitar) and Ali McMordie (bass), with Ian McCallum (rhythm guitar) and Steve Grantley (drums).

No Going Back has been financed through Pledge Music, presumably because no record label would stump up the money. Which just goes to show that accountants can’t measure artistic quality. SLF reached their Pledge target on the first day – who needs record companies? Punk DIY ethics in the internet age.SLF No Going Back Tour 14-19

Lyrically SLF are as politically charged as ever and it’s a crying shame that nothing has changed since the 70s and 80s – indeed with queues for food banks growing and public sector wages frozen whilst politicians agree a massive wage rise for themselves, the inequality in the country is worse than it ever was. We need bands like SLF to put our anger into coherent words, whatever your opinions about preaching to the choir, it’s important that we know we aren’t alone in our horror at the world around us. They attack individual selfishness (I Just Care About Me), corporate greed (the brilliant Full Steam Backwards), politicians (Liars Club) the Catholic Church (Guilty As Sin  – a beautiful, angry song about the child abuse scandal – suffer little children and by Christ they did), bigotry (One Man Island) and a personal song from Jake about his struggles with depression (My Dark Places). Musically it has the sound of Nobody’s Hero Fingers and is easily their best work since Go For It.

The album ends with When We Were Young. Jake tells a story of how he was sitting in a bar with Phil Lynott and they were both bemoaning how everybody was telling them they shouldn’t bother making records anymore, that nobody would be interested, a nd they relaised it was exactly what they were told when they were first starting out. No Going Back is a triumphant rigid digits two fingers up to those people. Buy it now.


Stiff Little Fingers official website.

Stiff Little Fingers on Facebook

Stiff Little Fingers on Twitter


This article first appeared on Louder Than War. Photograph of SLF taken by the author at The Assembly, Leamington Spa, 23 March 2014

Music Reviews, Non-Fiction

The Otherness: Come On – EP review


The Otherness: Come On EP 


Available now.


Argentinean Rockers The Otherness have been championed by LTW before. Now they have a new EP out – Come On. Mark Ray checks it out.

If John Lennon, Joey Ramone, Lou Reed and Ray Davies had been born in Buenos Aries at the same time, there’s a good chance they would have formed a band like The Otherness. They are a band that are immersed in the British and American sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s. They sound like the missing link between The Beatles and The Clash.

The Otherness are four hard working guys from Buenos Aires who clearly love what they do. They have toured Europe and hope to come back soon. They have a big gig planned for March at the Niceto Club – one of the big clubs in Buenos Aires.

Their new release is an EP of four tracks: Come On, What’s New?, Bit Of Fun and Now On And So On, which is available to buy on download from iTunes, Amazon and MTV.

All the songs clock in at around 2 minutes. They get in and they get out. Just great, no frills rock songs with the pop sensibilities of the ‘60s and the rough edge of punk. It’s rock for the sheer joy of it that doesn’t concern itself with wearing its influences on their sleeves. You can imagine in the old days of physical 45s that these would all be perfect singles, getting heavy rotation in juke boxes up and down the land.



They are songs about love and the joy and terror of being young and simply being in love with music. The sheer naive exuberance reminds you of how uplifting music can be.

This isn’t just nostalgia and a mish mash of styles though; The Otherness are a great rock and pop band who know the history of the music they love but make it their own. Isn’t that what all the great bands do?

If you want to be reminded of how bloody great rock and pop music can be, just for the pure love of it, without all the bullshit, then get into The Otherness.

You can get the EP here.

The band are on SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter.


This article originally appeared on Louder Than War 08/02/2014