When I were a lad, my grandparents used to shop in Kwik Save. In the pre- Lidl and Aldi days, this budget supermarket offered cut-price “No Frills” goods in plain white packaging with the contents stamped in a heavy typeface. You knew exactly what you were getting, and that tenuously takes us to The Setbacks with their brand of “No Frills” punk rock.
This Bath based band have been around since 2001 and have taken in many a support slot with the punk rock elite, so it may come as a surprise that this is The Setbacks’ first full length album. There have been EPs, yes, but Everything is their debut long player. Surely Axl Rose released Chinese Democracy in a quicker timeframe. I jest, as if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and in The Setbacks’ case they’ve clearly poured their heart and soul into Everything.
As you hit play on the tape deck, Young Jonathan’s Ghost starts (and ends) with some Celtic inspired lead guitar work. Think The Skids and you’d be somewhere near the mark. In between the bookended fretwork, you get the tried and tested punk rock power chord formula and it sets the template for the whole album. The Setbacks effortlessly mix Bad Religion with Ramones throughout this 11 track affair. You get melodic punk with the title track, scuzzy bass on So? and Cupid’s a Mutha Fucka, and Ruts influenced six string rage on my personal fav, the most excellent Run From Yourself. Maybe it’s the poppy element that won me over, but the pre-chorus and chorus doesn’t leave your brain in a hurry.
As all good ‘77 motivated punk bands should, The Setbacks take a political stab with Government Hell. A John Bercow-a-like shouts the infamous Houses of Parliament “ORDER!” and the band are surely taking aim at a certain clusterfuck of current UK politicians. In the next breath, the five delinquents throw in Marlene; a minute and a half love song. Hey, what would The Damned do?
Everything is a solid punk rock album that gets better with every listen. It’ll take you on a ride through familiar punk rock territory but it also adds a certain freshness at times. The thing that’ll set The Setbacks’ debut album apart is the melodic guitar work. There’s a fair amount of Paul Fox inspiration on offer, and that is a beautiful thing, my friends. If it’s straight-up punk you’re after, then look no further as The Setbacks have it in abundance. Ginge Knievil
Pick up your copy of Everything here