The Mob: Rise Up! / There’s Nothing You’ve Got I Want – single review
7″ / DL
Release date – August 2013
Cult anarcho-punk band The Mob return with their first slab of vinyl in 30 years.
I was really chuffed to get the opportunity to review a Mob 7 inch but I have to admit that I was filled with trepidation before listening to this new double A-side from All The Madmen. I can still remember the tingle down my spine when I first heard The Mob’s “Witch Hunt” back in about 1980/81. And having seen The Mob’s reformation gig a couple of years ago and a few more excellent performances since, I was concerned: 30 years on, could they still put together songs that sound like The Mob or would the passage of time make for a different sound? Or worse still would they just sound dated and as if they are trying to recreate something no longer relevant?
Well I am happy to report that the boys done good. “Rise Up” could easily have come from one of their early singles or the “Ching” tape – but whilst it sounds familiar, with a topical subject matter and the benefits of a modern recording it sounds fresh. This song has the jarring guitar of “Witch Hunt” and Curtis’ driving bass is reminiscent of songs like “What’s Going On?” and “White N***ers”. Mark’s distinctive vocals pour out genuine anger against rulers worldwide: “Many palaces have tumbled, many walls have been knocked down, and many more will fall, many more will lose the ground. They’ll pretend to understand and they’ll make a few amends but we’ve seen it all before and we’re not taking it again”. I’m not sure if that’s a call to arms or just reportage about what’s been kicking off around the world in recent years and to be honest, it doesn’t matter. The message is the same: Rise Up!
Powered along by Graham’s tribal drumming , as the song draws to a close the chorus repeats building up to a crescendo – reminiscent of “Witch Hunt”, it’s a great piece of songcraft put to work. This is definitely a track written for a single rather than song plucked from a live set or album and made to fit on a 7 inch disk. Something of a rarity these days and a hark back to The Mob’s 80s provenance.
If “Rise Up”” is the legacy of Witch Hunt then “There’s Nothing You’ve Got I Want” is the continuation of themes from their last single (until now!), “The Mirror Breaks” – both lyrically and musically. This melodic, melancholy tune conveys a combination of resignation and frustration at being confronted by a shitty mainstream that won’t even let you go to opt out: “Where we live amongst the values we resent”. Joy Division inspired bass lines loom around adding to the general gloomy feel. Annoyingly for me there is a very minor resemblance to the melody of the Oasis tune “Half the world away” which means I cannot rid images of the Jim Royle from my mind when I hear it! Musically it reminds me a little of some of Joe Strummer’s later Mescaleros tracks especially with the harmonica (which I initially thought was a concertina) whiddling away in the background. Maybe there’s something in the Somerset air….Turns out that the harmonica is played by singer/guitarist Mark’s dad making this release very much a family affair given that Mark’s daughter Tess is one of the team running All The Madmen.
With a hand screen printed cover to boot, existing fans of The Mob should not be disappointed and completists / record collectors (delete as applicable) will surely want to add this to the other 4 singles in their collection. As with all ATM 7 inches, if you want to get it 2 weeks before it hits the streets in time for Rebellion – and on coloured vinyl – then sign up for the All The Madmen 7 inch singles club . I am also assured that there will be a bonus track or 2 with the download version.
Words by Nathan Brown. You can read more from Nathan here