As we stare down the barrel of a future dominated by President Trump, the spirit of punk rock has never been more necessary. Unfortunately, bands driven by righteous fury and a total disregard for commercial concerns are in woefully short supply, which is why Stevenage’s Bad Breeding are such a ferociously exciting shot in the arm. With a sound that recalls the chaotic savagery of the original anarcho-punk wave of the early 80s, when bands like Crass and Conflict noisily unnerved the powers-that be, but with a sturdy underbelly of Motörhead and Black Flag riffing, this young, working-class band are fighting the good fight with intelligence, humility and gallons of venom.
“When we formed the band we were tired of the lack of representation in what we were hearing, reading and watching as 20-somethings living in a New Town,” says vocalist Christopher Dodd. “We sought to dispel, and sometimes play with, the caricatures of what being young and from a place like Stevenage is about. There were no real sonic boundaries when we started getting together. What you hear is a collection of songs pummelled together in a tiny rehearsal room on an industrial estate.”
Already notorious as one of the most exciting live bands in the UK, Bad Breeding recently unveiled their self-titled debut album by giving it away for free online. A raw and rampaging explosion of scabrous hardcore punk and freewheeling noise, it’s the most exhilarating album of its kind since Gallows first emerged from a similar part of the world, but with vastly more lyrical depth and, as Christopher explains, a pertinent and potent message at its core.
“The name of the band aims to challenge preconceptions and stereotypes: that being working class somehow makes you a gobby tradesman, a misogynist or racist salt-of-the-earth know-it-all, or a feckless, repulsive benefits cheat who is reliant on the state through choice rather than more complex reasons,” he says. “When you exist on the periphery of society like we do, a lot of talking gets done for you. We want to be able to discuss the issues that impact on our lives and how we are represented.
“Our goal has always been to act with a moral compass,” Christopher avows. “To make the right ethical choices when required: making shows free or fairly-priced, collecting for important causes and creating an environment where people feel confident enough to stand up for themselves and their ideas. We want to give people confidence to stand up for what you believe to be just.”
Finally, someone actually gives a shit. And after hearing Bad Breeding, you almost certainly will, too.
BAD BREEDING’S DEBUT ALBUM IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD VIA THE BAND’S FACEBOOK PAGE