Walking Wounded - Waiting On The Outside
Having been industriously plying their blend of gypsy celtic eastern european bluesy reggae punk for thirty years - this being their first fully distributed album out of eight - this East End collective beat gimmicky upstarts like Gogol Bordello and every inept indie schmuck who swapped their Libertines records for Tom Waits ones but kept the titfer, hell, they even predate old Joe and his Mescaleros by a good few moments. They quite possibly have more good moments than that band too, for this is a lovely little record with a similar big hearted embrace of world music lifted directly from the cross-cultural climate of their base camp. Informed by leader Hugh Poulton's work as a Human Rights activist and Amnesty International worker the songs range from the Balkan wars (Vino Ulje Rakija) to London's young gang knife crime (Hackney Central / Murder Mile) through to evolution (Talking Evolution), friendship (on the lovely Pictures) and scene-scraping posers on Betwixt & Between / Saturday Night Down The Balls Pond Road, all related with a voice like a more tuneful Nikki Sudden. Retaining a good humour and party heart, it also quite easily outsteps the cliche crusty punk you could be forgiven for thinking of. So no RDF and no right on preaching, just righteous infectious grooves and sharply sketched characterisations of the bustle of the borough called the world.