Cock Sparrer - Forever album review

Street-punk legends further refine an unrefined formula.

TODO alt text

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.