I’ve always been a fan of Hardcore Punk and Street Punk. For me, Punk is all about taking action and striving for something better than the ass backwards status quo while releasing the rage and anger the current state of the world created inside me. Friends criticized my love of this sub-genre saying ‘it’s just a bunch of drunks complaining about how life has screwed them over and they’re too lazy to do anything about it’ or telling me I’d eventually grow out of this type of music. It’s bands like The Restarts that prove these people wrong and reestablish my love of Hardcore Street Punk and its importance to me as a person. If you’re looking for a passive album to listen to on a road trip you have come to the wrong place. This is an album that lights a fire under your ass to get involved in a process that wants you complacent and silent.
After fourteen months of writing, London-based band The Restarts have released their sixth studio album entitled Uprising on Pirate Press Records and No Label Records in October. A teaser track, “The One Percent”, was featured on a split with punk legends Subhumans back in early September. Although they are a UK band, the tracks are worldwide in their scope and connect with all walks of life.
The band stated what the record was all about in their press materials for the album:
“…Warning: contains pointed political critiques on gentrification, mental health, origins of homophobia, addiction and the political circus that is Brexit! This is Restarts unapologetic and defiantly angry.”
The first track “Panic” is the best representation of the album both musically and lyrically. It starts with a sample from Greta Thunberg’s address to the UN when she called out their inaction over climate change and is also part of the chorus of the track. “I want you to act… act as if your house is on fire.” After the sample, the song explodes into a rage-filled wall of sound with thunderous drum fills and ends with wailing guitar. The grimy lyrics yell at you throughout to snap out of this false sense of hopeful thinking and take action against the litany of injustices the album touches on.
Uprising does an amazing job finding the perfect balance of internal and external themes in their songwriting that allows people to connect to the band as not just musicians but people. The Restarts are one of the few bands that truly practice what they preach volunteering at refugee camps (the fuel for songs like the title track and “A Dark Day In September”), being involved with mental health groups (“Black Dog”), and helping with the homeless in their hometown. Their whole ethos as a band reminds me of artists like Rage Against the Machine that included organizations and groups for their fans to join and get involved with if they aligned with their mission and beliefs.
Musically, this record is true Hardcore Street Punk at its finest with a dash of Ska in songs like “Shut Doors”, “Black Dog”, and “20 Years”. Songs like “Out And Proud” highlight the killer rhythm section of this three piece while thrash-infused guitar licks find their way in many of the songs on this album. These twelve songs are the whole package and mix it up in a way that there is no filler song; every track on this record has a clear and distinct message, purpose, and sound.