I must confess I didn’t anticipate harvesting any reggae tinged nuggets from the black and white world of anarcho punk for SBB, but lo and behold, yesterday as I sat on a bus the memory of a song fitting that very description swam into auditory focus.
Certainly one of the more austere entries to these pages, Youth by Yeovil dropouts The Mob is the most fitting soundtrack you’ll ever hear to sewing up dirty old shoes next to a space heater, which is what I dimly recalled doing the last time I heard it.
For the unfamiliar, The Mob were prominent faces amongst the crowd of usual anarcho suspects such as Flux of Pink Indians, Rudimentary Peni and, of course, Crass, though they set themselves apart from the fingerpointing of their ticked-off contemporaries with a more introspective stance.
As a young spiky-top I remember picking up the 12” reissue of their debut single ‘Crying Again’ based mainly on its haunting sleeve artwork, and fell in love instantly with the raw, shambling, and penetratingly sad teenage lament on the b-side.
Musically speaking, ‘Youth’ truly is one of the most awkward marriages of the spiky and the dread imaginable; the perfect accompaniment to its protagonist’s painfully evocative tale of British smalltown disillusionment in the early 80s. I hope you’re happy, Maggie…