You’ll Never Take Us: Skinhead Anthems II
The Last Resort
It took me a while to actually get round to writing this review.
Not because this album is so engrossing or challenging that it needed several listens - it’s skinhead Oi! punk, not improvised acoustic jazz-doom. In fact, it was my conscience requiring me to check that the band didn’t have any, how you might say, far-out political beliefs. Some might find that a bit weird, since most are willing to give a bit of leeway to Phil Anselmo, or some of the slightly more dubious black metal bands, and even Ted Nugent is enjoyed with a knowing ignorance. But, on the whole, we still seem to be a lot more critical of Oi!, and what it professes is merely working class pride.
Fortunately, through a bit of internet sleuthing, I have been assured that The Last Resort are nothing more than good old salt-of-the-Earth types. In fact, according to Garry Bushell (who I didn’t know was the oracle of Oi!), they were one of the originals of the Oi! scene and were involved in the 1981 conference that was organised to try and galvanise the scene and prevent any future accusations of thuggery and ignorance. And anyway, putting politics aside, there are unfortunately sufficient other reasons to take issue with the band.
First, there is the music. All things considered, it’s standard 4-chord Oi!, and it doesn’t exactly stray from the formula. It’s been done before, and without a doubt it’s going to be done again. Certain riffs will grab you momentarily, but it’s doubtful they’ll stay lodged in your head. The lyrics range from the punk standards of politics and war (“Fucking politicians bring the nation down”, obviously), along with the slightly more Oi!-themed topics of unity and working class strength (“You’ll never take us, our blood’s too strong”. Unfortunately it’s let down by ‘Cockleshell Heroes’, a tale of going down the seafront on the piss - “Going out on the lash, with our mates, if don’t want a kicking then you’d better stay out of our way.” Inspired. Combined with the songs about being involved with the Millwall football firm and you start to see why people think skinheads are a bunch of thugs.