London band Italia 90 have a new tune available for the world to hear. Keith Goldhanger has crossed paths with them recently and feels we should all start paying attention
Some of us are always promising to get back to you on some of the stuff that gets our ears twitching and most of the time due to the amount of people we cross paths with and get distracted by, we let you down.
Today we don’t.
Italia 90‘s music we first heard was over a year old, we’d seen them play our favourite tune Mobile Reassurance Unit at the end of August and now there’s a new tune we can introduce to you whether you already are aware of this band or not.
Italia 90 sound like many of the bands we may have heard on bad quality cassettes in the late 70’s.
The sound this four piece create, recalls those early Wire recordings, Joy Division cassettes and Gang of Four bootlegs at least one mate would own having sneaked a cassette recorder into the venue to record and listen to a few weeks later. Tapes that probably still exist, unplayable now, they’ve been nearly out the door more than once but are still nice to look at as a reminder of times gone by.
This is the music we’d listen to in the car as we tried to accommodate more than the legal amount of passengers towards the next bunch of bands we’d only just heard of. CDs hadn’t been invented, the radio was crap and no one bought proper albums on tape. Albums were purchased in those days on vinyl and many bands at this early stage of their lives relied on recordings made unofficially because they simply didn’t have the resources to record any of their music at the time.
Italia 90’s singer looks like he’s just stepped out of a Sham 69, Brutal Attack, Angelic Upstarts audience in 1978. Blokes that looked like this used to be nasty bastards back then but there are far too many nice people at gigs to practice being a bastard to in 2018 .
Seeing this band brought back many memories when we saw them live. Memories of walking into rooms to see a gig and noticing with horror half a dozen skinheads who were there just to have a fight. Shoreditch 2018 could be more different on this front.
The last thousand times we’ve seen someone in boots braces and a yellow/orange checked shirt like this have belonged to the over 50’s club who are always available for a decent chat over a pint . The band made us wonder if the violent skinheads from 1980 are still around today as we smiled and considered the amount of money the pint in our hands costs now, took a call on our mobile telephone resting in our back pockets and instantly killed off any nostalgia we had left in our blood for the evening.
New tune New Factory has us wondering if the parents responsible for turning these people into the type of people that make music like this had anything to do with the people that used to congregate in the same venues as ourselves. This is more Wire/Gang of Four/PIL than Oi! music though. Signs of greatness are there, hidden beneath the simple hypnotic basic drums, this sparsely used high pitched fuzz guitar and the shouty vocals that define Italia 90 like no band since the end of those regular nights at the Bridge House in Canning Town have achieved.
Tunes such as New Factory have unknowingly reminded one or two of us of times we really had forgotten. Mobile Reassurance Unit needs bottling up for the future. They won’t ever be headlining Glastonbury but they may look back on themselves one day with pride and the same sense of achievement that Gang of Four maybe did a few decades later.
Give this band a look and a listen. Indie pop made by people aiming for a spare opening on a future Jools Holland show this isn’t. Post Punk rock music made by people with a decent early 80’s record collection (once the bands we loved had released stuff) this is more like.
And quite unique in 2018.
All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV). You may subscribe to the Goldhanger Shorts Facebook page or browse some of his photos too if you so wish.