Over the years, rock & roll historians have debated the merits of British punk versus American punk. But truth be told, they are equally important. Just as Cubans and Puerto Ricans are both major players in salsa -- and just as Ireland and Scotland are equally important to Celtic music -- Americans and Brits have made equally valuable contributions to punk. It is hard to imagine punk without the Sex Pistols, the Clash, or the Damned, and it is just as hard to imagine punk without the Ramones, Fear, Black Flag, or the Circle Jerks. At their best, Conflict has made some inspired contributions to British punk -- and the band celebrates their 20th anniversary with Now You've Put Your Foot in It, a four-song EP that was recorded in 2001. Two studio tracks ("From St. Paul's to St. Petersburg" and the title song) and two live performances from an appearance at New York's famous CBGB ("Climbing the Stairs" and the reggae-influenced "These Things Take Time") are exactly what one expects Conflict to be -- raw, sneering, emotionally direct, in-your-face, and angrily political. "These Things Take Time" is a perfect example of the punk/reggae connection; British punks have been big reggae fans since the late '70s -- members of the Clash were seriously into reggae -- and "These Things Take Time" is part of that time-honored tradition. Released on Mortarhate in England and Go-Kart in the U.S., Now You've Put Your Foot in It falls short of essential, but is an inspired, sincere effort that die-hard punk enthusiasts will appreciate.
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