No Going Back
Here’s a brand new Stiff Little Fingers album – recorded after 11 years off, well 11 years without an album, the band’s founding member Jake Burns continues to whip out the Stiff Little Fingers sound with his touring version of the band – and some of these songs have even been honed over the last few years via live shows. That great guitar sound – it’s still here. And there’s a punk urgency to several of the songs – Full Steam Backwards for instance.
The title is a tad ironic given this is exactly what Stiff Little Fingers has always done – with a determined effort to head back to those early firebrand days, that astonishingly good (nearly perfect) debut album. Unfortunately it can’t all stick – and though I Just Care About Me is a lesson for the pop-punk brats that might claim to have grown up with this and the Pistols and The Clash and whatever else but really started with Green Day by the time of Don’t Mind Me this version of Stiff Little Fingers sounds like just one more pop-punk offshoot. Weird. And a little sad.
One Man Island is a monster riff, Throwing It All Away has that anthemic charge to it, Good Luck With That is rollicking-good punk fodder – and so, you know, this album is probably about as good as anyone could expect. Not a total embarrassment, never as vital as the band’s best – pretty standard really. A bit like Buzzcocks’ 2006 “comeback”, Flat Pack Philosophy. But then, actually, maybe not quite as good as that one…