Wednesday Night Heroes

Superiority Complex

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Not every punk band that emerged in the late '90s or early 2000s played emo and wanted to sound like blink-182. That period also saw the birth of quite a few punk revival bands -- that is, bands that rejected emo and were a throwback to the old-school punk of the late '70s and early '80s. Some favored an American approach, drawing on influences like Black Flag, the Dead Boys, the Ramones, or the Circle Jerks; others were more British in their outlook -- even if they weren't actually from England. The Wednesday Night Heroes, for example, are a Canadian punk revival band with a very British sound; if one didn't know that Superiority Complex was recorded in Edmonton, Canada, in late 2002 and early 2003, he/she could easily assume that it was recorded in London around 1979. This CD is pure, unadulterated oi!, and the Heroes sound like a group of ale-drinking, hell-raising Cockneys from London's East End (an area that, like South Philadelphia or Chicago's Southwest Side, has a very working-class history). The Heroes don't get into Cockney rhyming slang -- that would be overkill, considering that they're really Canadian -- but they are quite faithful to the spirit of classic British punk and recall a time when Cock Sparrer, Sham 69, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash defined the U.K.'s punk revolution. Of course, Superiority Complex isn't revolutionary by early-2000s standards; while those British bands were quite cutting-edge in their day, the Heroes are followers rather than leaders. But they're enjoyably good at what they do, and while Superiority Complex is hardly the most groundbreaking album in the world, the performances are consistently energetic, spirited, and infectious. Die-hard oi! enthusiasts will find a lot to like about this inspired, if derivative, effort.

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