Newtown Neurotics - New Cross

Garry Bushall, Sounds July 17th 1982.


TUCKED AWAY in the small print of last Sunday's papers was news of a major speech pledging the Tories to the complete dismantling of the Welfare State if they win the next election. There is no impassioned editorials, no screaming headlines. The last remaining achievements of the 1945 Labour landslide's wide sweep of popularly beneficial reforms, like free education and free health, were to be guillotined, and no one in the papers reckoned it much worth worrying about.

If ever there was a time for the massive musical opposition movement blue-printed by the first Clash album, it's now. But most self-styled socialist bands, are conspicuous by their abject inability to communicate with the kids, popular reaction to impenetrable Gang Of Four style dirges being if this is what left-wing means then I'm a Fulham supporter.
While on the street punks seem content to lose themselves in spiky ghettos or are too negative or ambiguous in their opposition.

Thankfully, there's light in the darkness. The mass movement of Rock For Fun And Against Privilege the Oi! should have become is at last promised by a new breed of bands like the Newtown Neurotics, a solidly street-socialist Harlow-based trio whose impressive credentials range from passion and protest to pure punk power and providing a bloody good night out.

No doubt in my mind, the Neurotics are massively important. Musically they specialise in hard, fast and catchy singalong songs, concrete hard Sixties pop in DM boots most reminiscent of early Jam, but with a real Eighties relevance.
Cropped and shade-handed Steve Drewett sings and provides slugging chugging aggressive guitar, backed up hard by the driving drums of Simon Lomond and the forceful bass of Colin Dredd.

But if Steve's haircut is a guaranteed gutter press 100 carat shock horror headline, his lyrics are sussed enough to make John Pilger smile.
The obvious terrace-style sloganeering of the single 'Kick Out The Tories', slaughtered tonight by the so-called singing of alcoholic fan Attila, is augmented by the more considered likes of 'Mindless Violence', a passionate condemnation of one-against many gang attacks, and the best of it's kind since the late Seventies classic 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight'.
Then there's the savage and righteous 'Get Up And Fight' offset by the cautionary constabulary tale of 'Bored Policemen', a harsh uptempo reggae outing that sadly lost half the lyrics tonight thanks to a dodgy mike, with lighter moments coming from the fast and furious 'Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?' and a rip-roaring raucous rendition of the Ramones' own 'Blitzkrieg Bop'.

The Neurotics hammered home twelve numbers to a small but appreciative No Nukes audience, encoring with a relevant re-write of the old Members classic 'Solitary Confinement', now rendered 'Living With Unemployment'.

But it's obvious a band like this should be blaring out of the box or playing to thousands supporting the Jam (howsabout it Paul?), because when it comes to protest punk you can forget Discharge and Crass, pal. The real fightback starts here!

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Colin Dredd - bass player Extraordinare