Argy Bargy : Hopes, Dreams and Schemes : album review of 21st century punk classic
Hopes, Dreams And Schemes
With their new album packed with tightly produced great songs, Argy Bargy make a very good claim to be the best street punk band in the world.
It’s been along time since anyone could say that new band was the best street punk band in the world and the band would not make this claim themselves being far too modest for this kind of loose talk. Instead Argy Bargy have just got on with the business of recording a great album. There are 17 tracks of proof here that street punk is not a dead form and when injected with a wit and intelligence as well as great songs it stands its ground as a vibrant musical form.
A lot of this is down to the band’s guitar player and producer Daryl Smith who also moonlights in Cock Sparrer- who are now one of the biggest punk bands in the world and headline regularly on the international punk rock festival circuit. This is great but hopefully will not overshadow his work in Argy Bargy whose own noisy rumble has been a festival staple for a number of years and hopefully with this album will get the credit they deserve.
Smith produces the album and gives is a tight, punchy sound that already has the big names slavering over its quality with Lars Fredereksen of Rancid declaring it the finest punk album of the year mid set at Rancid’s Rebellion performance this year. He’s not the only one and the whisper is growing into a scream that we may finally have a band emerging from the British punk underground who could well be serious contenders.
There are lots of reasons for this. The songs are really good. Tight arrangements, great melodies and heartfelt lyrics that make street punk suddenly sound like a type of music from the 21st ventiry instead of a museum piece. The other factor is that charismatic frontman Watford John has switched from his raucous terrace bellow to a tuneful singing voice that loses none of its power but adds to its listenability and ability to communicate to people outside the scene and sees the band suddenly have the potential to speak with the outside world.
On ‘These Streets’ John sounds plaintive and powerful and his punk rock message is communicated perfectly, whilst on ‘Homeward Bound’ he retains the power of the punk rock mob orator but also adds the ability to take the message to the closed world of radio- which is important because if punk is about having a voice it needs a bigger audience to listen to it.
Argy Bargy have recorded their breakout album and lost none of their power and bite. They have created an album where every song is a killer and with a message that needs to be heard.
This is an album needs to be celebrated or at least listened to…