Stratford Mercenaries

No Sighing Strains of Violins

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This is among the worst records from Steve Ignorant of Crass and any of his various projects. The Stratford Mercenaries are obviously trying to be experimental by adding horns and the occasional electronic bit to their straightforward live punk sound. But this record barely sounds at all like the band does live, where they play furiously and draw rabid audiences. After the opening tune "Won't Get Me," which is good, the listener begins to wonder why the distorted guitar has been relegated to the distant background and a trebly guitar sound has replaced it. Ignorant's voice is also incredibly off-key at times. Though, the main problem with this record, which will please very few fans, is the awful production which has replaced almost everything punk rock about the band with pathetic, mildly artsy attempts at being eccentric. A real failure from a talented band.

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