Anti-Nowhere - League The Albums 1981-87 album review

Four-disc compilation of Tunbridge Wells 80s punks

Cover art for Anti-Nowhere - League The Albums 1981-87 album

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If you were still punk in 1982, then you’d missed the point of punk. At least that was the thinking back then, and consequently Anti-Nowhere League were critical pariahs, considered lumpen and backward. Decades later, however, they can be taken for what they are: a capable, solid band making records that now, once again, would be considered pretty shocking in their content.

Their debut album, We Are The League remains their best, its big, thick sound and tumbling riffs as close to Motörhead as it is to punk, its terse sentiments a manifesto of defiant ugliness that refuses to be prettifed, 80fied, as on Animal (‘I’m a child molester… a living abortion’). 1987’s The Perfect Crime is therefore surprising – an attempt to get with the well-produced times, the worthy sentiments of Johannesburg delivered by Animal in tones reminiscent of Europe’s The Final Countdown.

The Live In Yugoslavia disc, from 1983, sees the League greeted by anthemic chants of “We are the league” (wonder how many of them ended up involved in actual wars?), while Rarities 1981-4 includes 1981’s So What, the gloriously profanity-streaked B-side of their cover of Ralph McTell’s 1974 hit Streets Of London.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.