Anti-Nowhere League

We Are...The League

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The years pass, the wheel of time turns, and the shocking, moral-challenging ne'er-do-wells of one generation eventually seem almost sweet when compared with those of later days. Every so often, though, something will remain almost gloriously offensive and wrong no matter what the future brings; the League's filthy gob of a debut album fulfills that brief, and then some. Musically, there's nothing here to surprise or challenge anybody -- already dated three-chord thrash, smash, and bash at the time of its release, years later it just sounds like the type of stuff folks like Offspring listened to while killing time in rehearsal studios. However, for all of the band's protestations of "being sh*t," the roar is actually reasonably produced, with a good oomph to it instead of becoming too treble. Every so often the band tries something just a tiny bit different (the slow opening to "Woman," which is almost a late-'50s tearjerker in modern leather gear before everything revs up), but mostly they just do what they do. It's vocalist Animal, though, who transforms the League from being just another band to becoming veritable kings of trash. His rough vocals tackle everybody and everything, not least of all himself and his bandmates; suspect sex, random contempt (the brilliantly titled "[We Will Not] Remember You" and "I Hate...People"), and more just scratch the surface. The group even trashes their own medium, as "Can't Stand Rock 'n' Roll" concludes "the man who made it was big and fat." The undisputed highlight, of all things, is a cover of Ralph McTell's folk anthem "Streets of London." Transforming the sympathetic look at the city's outcasts and dregs into a celebratory anthem of defiance, the League delivers one of the best remakes ever done, almost in spite of itself. Reissues also contain that single's notorious flip side, "So What," a gleeful detailing of sexual and social depravities revived by Metallica in the '90s.

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