Vice Squad have a long and distinguished history on the UK’s punk scene, with vocalist and rhythm guitarist Beki Bondage being a founder member for the band’s ﬁrst incarnation in 1979. Beki later quit to front Ligotage and subsequently Beki And The Bombshells, and the remainder of the band split in 1985 before it was reformed by Beki after a gap of twelve years. The current line-up includes Paul Rooney (lead guitar, backing vocals), Wayne Fireﬂy (bass, backing vocals)and Bongo Basterd (drums).
‘Battle of Britain’ may be the band’s thirteenth
studio album, but they have lost none of their energy or
edginess. Opening with the frenetic ‘Ruination’, Beki’s
soaring vocals launch a ﬁerce attack on small-time
promoters and blaggers. Throughout the album’s thirteen
tracks, more targets come under ﬁre thick and fast:
austerity, homelessness, factory farming, Brexit, fake
patriotism and the mainstream media.
But it’s not all criticism and social commentary.
‘When You Were 17’ feels almost nostalgic with its take
on ﬁrst tattoos and underage booze. Even at its most
incisive,the invective is balanced by touches of humour,
as evidenced by the hilariously frustrated lyrics of ‘Pulling
Teeth’ (“Dithering jibbering solid as jam/ Is it fair I’m
both the woman and the man?”).
An album highlight is penultimate track, ‘You Can’t Fool All of the People’, an orchestral delight that mixes baritone guitar with violin and Celtic rhythms to deliver a James Bond-esque track, demonstrating the band’s inventiveness and innovation.
‘Battle of Britain’ showcases a highly experienced band who deliver their deﬁance with energy and wit.Their instrumental skill is matched by Beki’s blistering vocals to deliver an album of the highest calibre.