What an apt title ‘Dark Times’ is. It seems every time we switch on the news we’re greeted with stories of political unrest. Be it the never-ending argument of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the Hong Kong protests, climate change, the state of the monarchy or the soap opera that has become Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House. With so much going on in the world it’s little surprise that music reflects these worrying times and no genre of music captures unrest as well as punk. Punk was borne out of standing up to the norm and questioning the status quo, getting the point across without a care for how it will affect those at the top, or, on occasion, without a care for musical knowledge, punk said it as it was, the voice from the street.
So it’s with this ethos in mind that we welcome back something that is referred to as an ‘old punk’, Doctors Of Madness.
For anyone outside of the genre, Doctors of Madness shared the stage with bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Damned and The Skids and influenced bands like Simple Minds, Joy Division among others.
But punk can often seem out of place, out of time in the modern world, so does it hold up?
I’m happy to say yes it does.
This is grown up music, sure it takes its cue from punk music, questioning things and has a simmering energy and aggression beneath its clever lyrics and production but it remains accessible and engaging. It seems the message is served best when people are able to actually hear it, this is a million miles away from the shrill voice of Johnny Rotten!
The music is dark, atmospheric and, at times, other worldly. Opening with ‘So Many Ways To Hurt You’, we’re introduced to bass heavy, drum filled music with percussion, backing vocals set against the dead pan delivery of Richard ‘Kid’ Strange’s vocal. It works, a tame intro to what is to come.
‘Make It Stop’ and ‘Walk of Shame’ could have been from David Bowie’s 1980’s output (with a nod to ‘Lets Dance’ on the ‘Walk of Shame’ intro) and ‘This Kind of Failure’ could have been a Simple Minds classic, all songs are crackers!
It’s obvious this is a band inspired by the world we live in, the music is happily supported in it’s production so the whole things sounds and feels totally connected. It rattles along at a hell of a pace and has enough depth in it’s layers to reveal new quirks on repeat listens.
If you’re a fan of punk, or you like the music that was spawned from the style, give this album a listen, it’s easy to get into and has so much more to it than a simple punk album.