No Wukkas you have twisted my head, you have turned my world upside down. Sorry, just going off on one there, I’d better explain. It’s because ‘Business Fella’ has kind of taken me back to a time when I went to see bands who could probably be described as ‘free festival bands’ mixed with the odd Prunk band – short for Prog-Punk – either way out there punk or Prog played loud and faster and crazy.
In particular ‘Business Fella’ comes with – to me anyway – a large dose of THE Prunk band Cardiacs – ranting vocals, raving fast guitars, sax and somewhat weird keyboards – and Here & Now – darlings of the free festival scene and friends of the Gong family, punky semi-improvised acid rock in the late 70s, moving onto something harder than that with vast doses of reggae and dub in the 80s. Forgive me while I relive my life, oh the injuries I caused myself at Here & How gigs.
But you see ‘Business Fella’ isn’t JUST that, it’s a huge dose of the way-outness of Roky Erickson’s solo work – the founding member and leader of The 13th Floor Elevators – all ranting and shouting, John’s Children and something of The Prodigy.
This is turning into some sort of lecture here, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to. But all of the bands and artists I’ve referred to are well worth checking out.
The thing is, and I’ve said this before, what you hear might be different, and that’s OK. Bands influence bands who influence bands who… well you get the idea. And with every generation of bands new things are added. Another merging of influences happens. And this is why No Wukkas (At last back to the subject in hand, Frank – Ed) are so bloody good, their music is unashamedly music that comes from somewhere, they acknowledge their influences, while at the same time being of now.
Overwhelmingly fast guitars, keyboards taken to a point of death, drive the joy that is ‘Business Fella’, ranting vocals, drumming that must have had the drummer close to collapse, abrupt changes in tempo, weird echoey vocals. A wall of out-there sound that almost, but doesn’t, become psych-garage. This is music to throw yourself around to, to lose yourself in.
And yet – and forgive me again for this – like Here & Now – No Wukkas don’t do songs that aren’t about something. The band say:
‘Business fella’ is an apocalyptic alt rock anthem (I politely disagree with that, it’s alt-rock only in that it isn’t mainstream rock) centred around a lone figure oblivious to the end of the world… his track’s ferocious power matches the real world angst that comes from ignored climate pleas’
So as I said it’s about something. Something important and of now. Here & Now, by the way, did songs that were about the late 70s world of Thatcher governed Britain (the now then i you get what I mean); the violence of the Special Patrol Group – a police unit that ‘poiiced’ demos, festivals, and other bastions of the alternative world with what might be called a heavy hand, ditching your stash because you might be subject to a ‘sus’ stop and search, and the approaching inferno of civil disobedience. Now it is different (or is it?), No Wukkas reflect the world now.
All of this is to get me to a point (and yes, there is a point to what might seem like pointless wandering words) where I could put this song into a context of now that includes the past, and possibly the future. This song, and their music in general, does this. The subject of the song does this.
The other reason for doing this is that I am frequently approached by people of my age, musical history and life experiences who say that there’s no music like the music they used to listen to, and that’s why they still go and see the ‘old bands’. Well, here is one band they could relate to, enjoy, get into to; because No Wukkas’ music has things they could recognise.
This, people. is a joy, protest songs have not been this groovy and cool for ages. It rages lyrically and musically, it’s a maelstrom of sound that literally takes your breath away. And yet it isn’t meaningless directionless sound, there is a beautiful structure and music played with a fluency that is outstanding. This is brilliant, fucking brilliant. Get into this now, right now, no excuses.