With their eclectic influences and scintillating musicianship, SUBHUMANS were never going to be content to trot out anarcho punk-by-numbers, but no onewas really prepared for the progressive brilliance of their sophomore album, From The Cradle To The Grave. Whilst the A-side contains nine short-sharp bursts of energised punk gleefully embracing allpoints of the spikey spectrum, from the breakneck thrash of “Reality Is Waiting For A Bus” to the ominous dirge of “Wake Up Screaming,” it is the ambitious title track that really captures the imagination: its sprawling, 16+ minute running time telling the sorry tale of the human life cycle across a myriad of dynamic acts. If anyone was still in any doubt, it was the band defiantly setting out their stall as a creative entity that existed outside the stifling constraints of perceived musical sub-genres. Committed to tape by the visionary John Loder at Southern Studios at the tail end of 1983, it was released in April 1984 to widespread acclaim—and only kept from the No. 1 spot in the independent charts by NEW ORDER!
As a staple of the punk scene, ALL of the SUBHUMANS records are still in high demand, and this long-overdue repress of this album couldn’t be coming at a better time. SUBHUMANS are one of the most influential bands from the UK, anarcho-punk scene of the ’80s, filed right alongside CRASS and CONFLICT, and just as relevant today as they were during the darkest days of Thatcher’s Britain. Take your choice in how to label them—punk, UK82, crusty, etc.—therein lies the attraction and consequent reason for their popularity, the band epitomizes non-conformity and connects with people in many different scenes. This album is an essential piece of history in the world of punk that SUBHUMANS helped create.
(Pirate Press Records)