Not to be confused with the UK Subhumans, these Canadians rode in on the first wave of Punk Rock, releasing their debut EP in ’78, the seminal ‘Death to The Sickoids / Oh Canaduh’, and the phenomenal album ‘Incorrect Thoughts’ in 1980.
Following mucho touring in their homeland and the US West-Coast, their second album ‘ No Wishes No Prayers’ was released on Black Flag’s SST label, but by then the band was as good as finished, with singer Brian Goble having departed to pick up bass playing duties in DOA.
Gerry Hannah, the original bassist in the Subhumans had already quit the band after the debut album to become involved as a full time political activist in a group calling itself Direct Action, who really did walk it like they talked it – their targets included blowing up an environmentally unfriendly hydroelectric substation on Vancouver Island, and bombing a plant which manufactured parts for the American cruise missile. The group got caught by the authorities, and Gerry was sentenced to ten years in the can, eventually getting released after five.
In ’95 Gerry and Brian reunited as The Subhumans and have played sporadically during the ensuing years. In 2005 they solidified the line-up with the return of original guitarist Mike Graham, and veteran drummer Jon Card, who has previously seen active duty in Personality Crisis, SNFU and DOA. And the upshot is this album of 14 brand new songs, and having spun it a number of times, I have to say it’s pretty damn great. There’s nothing fancy as such is what these guys deliver, just solid straight up Punk with a melodic punch and some hard rocking tunes to boot. There are some really wry lyrical statements, with the War on Terror getting much attention, and American Foreign policy in general.
I’d go as far as to say the Gerry Hannah penned ‘Moving Forward’ is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time, a power packed number that totally nails American political hypocrisy – “heard your rhetoric again today , I don’t believe a single word you say. Telling us you’re gonna make the world free, But I know my history. You’ve never minded tyranny, As long as it was used against your enemy. You’ve always been willing to look the other way, As long as it was good for the USA”. The opening track ‘World at War’ is actually about the personal struggle of homeless and oppressed people to survive. Really thoughtful and compassionate sounds and an album I can thoroughly recommend as worth your attention.