The Partisans 'Police Story' – album review
The Partisans ‘Police Story’ (Cherry Red/Anagram)
The Partisans re-released ”ËPolice Story’ is a reminder of a specific period of time ”â when punk was sub-dividing, some (arguably) taking the more ”Ëpunk’ route and experimenting with their sound, others along with The Partisans rejecting the initial art school starting point then confined their sound and fitted into the emerging UK82 street punk scene championed by the likes of Sounds writer Gary Bushell.
For all the debate that continues to rage concerning the impact of punk rock, one thing that cannot be denied was punks ability to inspire others to start their own band, back in 1978 every city, town, village, hamlet seemed to have its own punk band ”â ability or acute lack of was no hindrance; Bridgend had The Partisans with an original early teenage line-up of Phil Stanton (Vocals), Rob Harrington (Guitar/Vocals), Andy Lealand (Guitar), Mark Harris (Drums), and Mark Parsons (Bass); Parsons and Stanton left in 1979, with Harrington switching to lead vocals, and Lealand’s girlfriend Louise Wright joining on bass.
Like nearly every other provincial band of the time they cited the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones, as their initial inspiration, they began by covering said bands material before progressing to writing their own. One of the other undeniable facts of punks impact was the huge proliferation of independent labels that sprang up ”â ideal for bands like The Partisans who were rapidly snapped up by the nascent No Future Records who put out the band’s debut ”ËPolice Story/Killing Machine’ in September 1981 ”â its fast and raw, its inept, the lyrics are equal to the music ”â that said it appealed to plenty of people rising to #5 on the UK Indie Chart; this at a time when to do so marked sales of 20,000!
Bushell further cemented his support featuring the band on Vol 3 of his now legendary compilation series ”ËCarry On Oi!’, which saw The Partisans enter the UK album chart, such exposure secured the band supports with the likes of Peter & The Test Tube Babies and Blitz who unlike the majority of UK82 bands were interested in the development of their sound.
Come May 1982 and No Future released a second single ”Ë17 Years of Hell’ also featured here, which peaked at #2 on the UK Indie Charts, similar in sound to their first release though clearly the bands ability to play had improved with touring; listening to it now it does retain a certain naive charm but for myself this style of punk had become hijacked by the likes of Bushell, keen to push their ”Ëstreet sounds’ and supposed working class attitudes…the lyrics touch every clichÃÂ© of the genre slating the government, the military, the police, class divide etc without ever offering any real alternatives; that said they make their complaint with both conviction and certainly passion.
The Partisans went on to release their eponymous debut album in early 1983, all the tracks, bar a couple of ”ËCarry On Oi!’ versions are included here, this album even retains the original artwork.
Shortly after Louise Wright departed and the remaining members relocated to West London ”â this release follows the band up to that point. The Partisans went onto release further singles and a follow up album which gained plays on Radio 1 and was described as “The Professionals meets The Clash,” which was certainly a progression from the material within ”ËPolice Story’
The band eventually split in 1984; Dave Parsons later found chart success with Transvision Vamp and later still worldwide success with Bush.
As I suggested, this album captures a young (they were just 14 when they began) fledgling band fired up by the biggest revolution in musical history, at the time musicianship, and broadening horizons (thankfully) weren’t always pre-requisites for band membership; so yes, its primitive, its clichÃÂ©d, it became the soundtrack to “give us 10p, mate”Â postcard punk, but it still manages to transport you back to your local pub, the youth club for the weekly punk night and for that we should be grateful.