Review: Percy still kicking against the rednecks

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Album review by Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

Percy: A Selection of Salted Snacks (album)

If 1970s punk had never gone on to become uglier and thrashier and a cartoon of its original self, Percy are what it would be now.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Colin Howard, bassist Andy Wiles and drummer Dan Whiting’s midget gems have attracted many fans over the years, from Steve Lamacq to myself when I ran Charm magazine from a Harrogate bedsit.

Toe-tapping rhythms, catchy hooks, black humour and socially-aware lyrics, this long-standing York trio are no two-dimensional band.

Carefully crafted but not lacking in aggression or sharpness, tracks such as Big Fellas, A New Kind of Discipline and Donny Rednecks document not just what’s wrong with the bigger forces that shape the lives of ordinary people but also the enemy within – the small town bigotry and lack of tolerance towards anyone and anything which fails to ‘fit in’.

This impressive collection of twisted classics on indie label Ten Foot Records proves the band’s pop skills and satirical approach aren’t just a case of cleverness for cleverness’s sake.

When songs on A Selection of Salted Snacks are disrupted occasionally by passages of post-punk noise or disintegrate into chaos and feedback it’s not merely a matter of spicing up the arrangement.

The moments of sonic ugliness reflect the ugliness of society, especially on Donny Rednecks, a stunning recreation of a horrible night out in a Doncaster pub complete with the sound of broken glasses and punters being sick.

Percy may be witty but they aren’t amused by the way things have turned out.

What they are saying amid the jollity is this is no laughing matter, this is a nightmare.