Anti-Nowhere League

The Horse Is Dead

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The Anti-Nowhere League might have seemed like a threat to society in 1982, when their image as the dirtiest punk band in the U.K. (in terms of both language and hygiene) still had some currency. By the time they recorded the live album The Horse Is Dead in 1996, they were little more than a nostalgia item for aging punk rockers and the sort of punters who still regard a Mohawk as a radical fashion statement, and on this recording the League sound like a well-oiled punk machine, professional and utterly uninspired. While lead singer Animal goes through the motions well enough and still snarls with anti-social gusto on tunes like "So What," "Let's Break the Law," and "I Hate People," the band sounds painfully generic, laying out 4/4 downstroke from front to back with reasonable skill but no appreciable personality of their own. And when the band tries to decry drug abuse and pedophilia on tunes like "Snowman" and "Noddy," it seems just a bit perverse -- let's face it, this is one band that isn't supposed to have principles, and the attempt to display a social conscience is more puzzling than anything else. If for some reason you have to own an Anti-Nowhere League concert album, Live in Yugoslavia at least has some historical relevance; The Horse Is Dead finds the band beating the titular creature to no appreciable effect.

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