Hooligan: No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs – ep review

Hooligan ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ (Oi The Boat Records)
7″ / DL
Available now

Even a cursory glance at the cover of the ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ will leave you in little doubt as to where Hooligan hail from, the Irish tricolour forming the entire sleeve which houses the 7” vinyl which is available in all three matching colours. Formed in Dublin, Ireland back in October 2009 – Hooligan play old school punk rock -having chosen to title the EP after John Lydon’s autobiography this should hardly be a surprise- however it’s the sheer honesty and stripped back efficient sound which is refreshing to hear.

Title track ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ opens with a looping dubby bass line before a saxophone comes in, adding colour to the song, which rattles along around a ska style melody; distinct clear vocals from frontman David Linehan who recalls the blatant racism prevalent in London back in the mid 50’s…’Calling Joe Strummer’ is by far the stand-out track, strident, pacey, and built around a recurring piano refrain as Linehan fondly recalls the sound of the Clash whilst seeking continuing inspiration following the tragic death of Joe Strummer and the vision he projected – Hooligan succeed as they have crafted real songs; yes they hark back to 77’ but don’t be fooled into condemming this as some sort of tribute – when you can write a decent tune you don’t need to be content with merely relying on speed, or other such gimmicks to disguise your lack of musical ability.

‘Cops And Robbers’ is perhaps the nearest sound to that of the Clash; crashing drums, acerbic guitars and gangland backing harmonies convey the tale of Jackie, the lad from the wrong side of the tracks who challenges the system… last track ‘Bandit Country’ opens with theme to the ITV News At Ten before launching into a chugging rabble rouser, its tinged with an early Subs blues feel that deals with the issue of living in Northern Ireland throughout “the troubles” – Hooligan do not declare any political allegiance, they write from the heart, from their own experiences of growing up in such a dangerous environment.

Hooligan do not set out to challenge musical convention; they have no desire to bring a new element to a punk sound – what they do, and do very well is write songs full of passion, they bear their souls within their music; if you are a fan of first generation punk rock, and by that I mean bands who were not restrained by perceived conventions, bands like X-Ray Spex, with their use of saxophone, then Hooligan are well worth investigating.

Track List:
1. ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’
2. ‘Calling Joe Strummer’
3. ‘Cops And Robbers’
4. ‘Bandit Country’

Available in limited green vinyl, white vinyl and orange vinyl.

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