UK Subs
Work In Progress
(Captain OI!)Ӭ****


UK Subs ‘Work In Progress’ – album review

The UK Subs are part of the fabric of the international punk scene. There is rarely a night of the year that Charlie Harper and his renegades are not on some stage somewhere in the world, playing their hearts out in a rock n roll dive, hammering out the punk rock to a packed house.

Whilst the rest of their contemporaries have disowned the movement that gave them their break Charlie is sat bang smack in the centre of the scene- probably checking out the support bands and talking to everyone in the room.
With no star trips and an unbelievable work ethic the band have survived in a heroic way and are having a late period blossom.

These days they are often to be found headlining festivals and selling out gigs worldwide whilst their endless run of albums that are working through the alphabet for their titles has now finally arrived at W. (whats’s next? ”ËœY Not’ followed by ”Ëœzzzzzz’!!!)

Work In Progress is perhaps a cheeky take on the band who have been around for ever but currently boast one of their most settled line ups and boy can this band play. With a rockier feel than most of their albums there is still enough punk rock energy on here for the purists and the album is tightly produced and played with the kind of chops you would expect from a band that have been touring non stop.

Guitarist Jet is fully settled in the line up and Jamie Oliver’s drums are frenetic, tight, powerful and full of speed thrills and lock tight with long term member Alvin Gibbs.

With 12 originals and a cover of the Standells classic Strychnine and a co-write from ex Subs member and Rancid mainstay Lars Fredrickson this is a far better album than it should be this many years down the road and is living proof of the simple power of basic rock n roll stripped down and played with a fierce passion.

Keeping it low key and on the punk rock barricades is what makes the UK Subs great but somehow you hope that Charlie Harper gets the acceptance he deserves, the man has been around since the pre fame Rolling Stones that he followed roud London and in many ways ,like Lemmy, has lived a life that runs parallel to the whole history of British rock n roll . Albums like this will keep the faithful happy but it’s about time Harper was recognised as a national institution and not just a work in progress.

In the meantime it’s great to hear the UK Subs still on full throttle.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. charlie is a true performer,will be buying the new album soon.
    i remember johnny rotten saying,everone who followed them was a copycat;”some of thest so called new bands are copycats,that charlie is one of the worst,just because the music is speeded up,doesn’t mask the fact,you can’t play”.
    you can take that with a pinch of salt,coming from a bloke who was in a band,that was manufactured malcolm mclaren.
    now selling out,and doing adverts for certain dairy products,very anti establishment john.
    “it aint about great britain,it’s about great butter”,no john “it’s about great pay packet”.
    charlie deserves his place in the shake up,no doubt about that.

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