Sense Of Solitude
Stratford Mercenaries are a punk supergroup of sorts. Usually “supergroup” means crappy product as a result, but not on “Sense of Solitude.” Made up of the singer from Crass (the progenitor of political punk, the group has attained iconic status amongst today’s crusties and peacepunks), and several instrumentalists from other well-known Britpunk bands, the Mercs do many different things well.
Some songs, most notably “No More Running” and “Cheap Excitement,” are straight-ahead rockers, but slower tempos and more contemplative moods are also represented here. The addition of a female keyboardist (who occasionally provides backing vocals) makes the overall feel sometimes reminiscent of the Mekons, and you may hear bits of other Britpunk bands that were typically more popular over there than in the States, such as the Stranglers or Gang of Four, or even very early Psychedelic Furs.
Punk rock for people with cerebral cortexes.
Southern Records, P.O. Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657; http://www.southern.com