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This weekend I’ll be mostly listening to… Poison Idea July 18, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Ah, Poison Idea. I’ve never been a huge fan of 1980s US hardcore. There are the obvious exceptions, Husker Du, the Adolescents (worthy of a post all their own now I think of it), some Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, a bit of Black Flag and so on, but generally it didn’t float my boat. Take the Dead Kennedy’s. There was always something a little false about them for my taste. Fast, which generally was good, but…too discordant. And although I’m a big fan of 1970s punk it always seemed to me that somehow the baby was thrown out with the bathwater when it crossed over to the US (or is that re-crossed if we argue that the US influence from the MC5 and the Ramones was central, as one suspects it was, in defining the sound of the Sex Pistols et al). So it’s odd that I’d much like Poison Idea, although listening to them I tend to hear more metal than punk in their sound.

I must have heard Feel The Darkness first in 1991. I know I had someone else’s tape of it in the early 1990s (I inherited a bunch of cassettes of said hardcore which I assiduously listened to over a couple of years) and it’s stayed with me since. The standout track was the title song but there are many more on here. Despite their USP of their physical size it always struck me there were much more to them.

And they moved pretty rapidly, well, for guys their size, from the almost ludicrously fast workouts of their early albums to a more considered sound as they matured. I should mention the names of the band members…guitarist Pig Champion, drummer Thee Slayer hippy and second guitarist Aldine Strichnine… although who knows, that latter might be genuine.

Political? Well, really not, other than the politics that develop on that interface between adolescence and the police.

As bands go they were quite a sight. An imposing sight. And very very disciplined, as was demonstrated at a gig they did in Whelans back in the mid-2000s. Actually, that was entertaining not merely for the band but also for a small knot of Dublin punks of the generation just ahead of mine who saw it as their honour bound duty to start a fight with the lead singer. I’m all for nostalgia, but not so much with a bunch of guys in their mid-40s attempting to recreate that very special atmosphere of the 100 Club.

They won’t be back, at least not in that line-up. Pig Champion died in 2006 and although some of the members have reformed periodically under the name it wouldn’t be the same.

Kurt Cobain liked ’em, Turbonegro covered them, and robbed some of their riffs, Napalm Death did likewise… and here’s the music.

Feel the Darkness… love that bassline. And the organ sound. And the …er…singing.

Here’s a live version…

and this the album version…

Just to get away

Taken by Surprise – a not quite live version…


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