Various Artists

Anti-State: Anarcho-Punk, Vol. 2

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The second of four volumes retelling the story of the early- to mid-'80s anarchist-punk movement, Anti-State: Anarcho-Punk, Vol. 2 offers up 21 cuts drawn from out of print singles, discarded demos and forgotten outtakes, but nevertheless comes together with a coherence that few similarly far-reaching compilations could ever muster. Thematically a little less focused than the preceding Anti-War, Anti-State is the story of social protest during the first years of Thatcher's Britain, a litany of complaints and observations targeted at everything from police heavy-handedness, through to a simple call for a return to the country's traditional liberal values, either by peaceful means or violent overthrow. It's an approach that rounds up some surprisingly diverse musical attacks -- Blyth Power's ferocious folk, the Disruptors' almost-stadium rocking riffola, and the early Chumbawamba's polemic-plus-power chords possess a vital variety that will astonish anyone who comes in expecting wall-to-wall Crass covers, while the accompanying booklet is detailed enough to send even neophyte listeners out searching for more. Thankfully, there are three further volumes in this series, and together, they add up to the most complete portrait of the era you could hope for.

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