Cock Sparrer - Forever album review

Street-punk legends further refine an unrefined formula.

Cover art for Cock Sparrer - Forever album

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Cock Sparrer’s career predates punk. They’re just as much pioneers as the Hollywood Brats or Eddie And The Hot Rods, but whenever those BBC4 documentaries get made, or the mainstream rock media celebrate punk’s birth, they’re never there. And it’s a ridiculous omission.

Though their brutal combination of wall-of-guitar thrash precision, hook-heavy, testosterone terrace chants and full-tilt, heartstring-tugging, East End, everyman, pub kitchen-sink dramas can be every bit as affecting as the best of Townshend, their faces never seemed to fit.

Malcolm McLaren pursued them in ’77, but historically, the rarified metropolitan elite/ aspirant middle-class wannabes of press and industry shied away. Cock Sparrer were too real, too punk, and never seemed quite as open to compromise as that nice chap from Sham 69.

Decca signed them, but didn’t get punk to such an extent that they couldn’t even market Adam’s Ants, so Cock Sparrer barely maintained cult profile.

But they endured, inspired street punk along the way, and have just delivered a triumphal album that distils and defines all that’s great about them.

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 19 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.