Admittedly, the majority of Oi! bands past and present don’t warrant a listen. Each group probably has one anthem stashed away, ready to be wielded at gigs to awe fans who heard the composition on a compilation somewhere. But by and large skinhead music, of the street punk variety, is banal at best.
A few relatively recent groups do deserve their respect as new age foragers of true skinhead noise. The Templars are unmatched by pretty much any band. It’s musical acumen easily surpasses the majority of bands in its genre – and punk in a general sense. And even while some the group’s lyrical work isn’t worth mentioning, tracks like “Police Informer” are just this side of classic. Apart from that New York group, the now defunct Oxblood turned in a solid long player towards the end of the nineties. Both those groups find themselves being name checked in an interview with Major Accident over there at Punk and Oi! in the UK.
Seeing that the principals in Major Accident are fans of the Templars isn’t too surprising. It’s been a consistent mark of that newer band to include guitars that sound remarkably similar to the older, Clockwork obsessed band. In that it could be figured the genre hasn’t progressed to great extent over the last thirty years. And it’d be difficult to argue another view point. But the bands that figure out the simple formula and reapply time and again on each release really do tap into a visceral music that so much straight punk just plain misses.
Major Accident never achieved the acclaim the Business or whatever other skinhead band you can name. Some might like to attribute that to the band’s adherence to Clockwork styled garb, but the Adicts looked basically the same and still tour internationally to decent crowds.
Regardless of that, Major Accident was able to turn in material on a consistent basis that surpassed that of most of its peers – apart from “Mary Whitehouse,” seeing as there might not be a more succinct pop punk song in all of UK music history.
With most of Major Accident’s discography being issued and reissued, it’s difficult to distinguish between compilations and the fair that was released as a proper album. But the combo deal of Massacred Melodies/A Clockwork Legion offers up not just “Psycho,” “Schizophrenic,” “Terrorist” and “Warboots,” but the overlooked gem “Brides Of The Beast.”
Coming in at just about five minutes, there’re endless oddities about the track. Firstly, it possesses a few distinctly separate sections signaled either by a drum cadence or a chorus. As it begins with that one enormous, droning chord the effort distinguishes itself by not just the band’s unique take on chiming distortion, but how those bar chords are actually played.
It sounds as if the band’s guitarist, while sitting on one note, hammers on and off his index finger allowing for an open note to be played alternately against the rest of the chord. It’s not the quite the Velvet Underground, but there aren’t any other Oi! bands out there that possess the melodic and musical sensibilities this group does. If nothing else, the lines “Bring me your blood tonight at ten/I think I’m falling in love with myself again” won’t be surpassed by anyone donning Alex’s costume anytime soon.