U.K. Subs - Ziezo album review

Street-punk veterans' 26th and final albums sees them exit on a high

U.K. Subs Ziezo album cover

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You’d be excused for thinking U.K. Subs had abandoned their bold scheme to traverse the alphabet in sequential album titles. After all, although extant for 40 years they’ve left the charts untroubled for 35 of them and never crop up on those TV histories of punk.

With a skin-tight line-up (vocalist Charlie Harper, guitarist Jet, bassist Alvin Gibbs and drummer Jamie Oliver) that’s been stable for 11 years, the band have never sounded sharper.

Ziezo, the 26th and concluding instalment of their catalogue, captures the band on a late-career peak maintained since 2008’s Warhead EP. Punk might be considered dead elsewhere, but on Ziezo it’s never sounded more alive. When hitting the street-punk template they helped define (Polarization) they’re without peer. Elsewhere Sparrer aggression meets Dolls panache (Oligarchy), Iggy swagger intensifies Harper’s half-century of R&B harp experience (Disclosure), and there’s even a mood-enlivening skank of Bloodvessel ska for the Rancid contingent.

If Ziezo is the Subs’ swansong, then what a way to go, because this doesn’t sound like the end of anything.

UK Subs confirm upcoming 26th and final album

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 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.