The Subhumans

Pissed Off...with Good Reason!

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This is not the (comparatively) second-rate, later early-'80s English hardcore Subhumans. This is the 1978-1982 Vancouver, Canada, punk legends, the ones who recorded the anthemic classic "Fuck You" (found here) that was later redone by D.O.A. after two of the Subhumans joined that group, frontman Wimpy Roy (aka Brian Goble) and original drummer Dimwit (aka Ken Montgomery, older brother of Social Distortion, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Danzig drummer Chuck Biscuits). The Subhumans were also loved coast to coast for their hilarious yet pointed "Slave to My Dick" (women also loved this, singing "Slave to My Clit"), which found its way onto Jello Biafra's groundbreaking Let Them Eat Jellybeans! compilation. Their two LPs, two singles, EP, and compilation tracks have lingered in obscurity far too long, and this overview helps correct that, particularly if you can't find their killer 1980 LP Incorrect Thoughts (reissued by CD Presents in 1985, but long out of print). This was one of those high-energy guitar groups with a tight, explosive rhythm section. What makes them enduring, in addition to the hot music and sociopolitical lyrics (delivered with conviction by Goble), is the sense of satire and side-of-the-mouth humor, and their essence of roughhouse fun. Sampling from all the Subhumans' releases, and ending with seven songs recorded in Edmonton during their 1995 Canadian reunion tour (with their third great rhythm section), Pissed Off cranks. It's so smart, funny, and filled with spirit and calls to a change in thinking, it's like that "We're Alive" (a song here) feeling you get after exercising. A second volume is called for: how could they leave off "War in the Head"? Other blasting numbers, such as "Behind the Smile," are also AWOL. And the studio versions of the live tracks, such as the first LP's hammering opener, "The Big Picture," are better. But for now, this is an eye-opening artifact, an electric, vintage punk group that sounds even more vital now than it did then, in the disco era!

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