Burning Britain (Cherry Red)
Following on from last year’s critically acclaimed box set Action Time Vision, Cherry Red continue their documentation of the independent UK punk scene, this time focusing on the so-called ‘UK82’ era that covered the early part of the decade. This was when punk developed into the sound that has forever been associated with it in many people’s minds. Fast and furious, with riffs more important than classical tune structure, this was punk rock as we remember it. An era when established first wave bands such as The Damned, Cockney Rejects and The Adicts were joined by bolshy newcomers GBH, Anti-Nowhere League and Conflict, and which spawned the early Oi! scene, giving publicity to The Business, 4 Skins and Peter & The Test Tube Babies. Needless to say, all are represented on this mammoth 114 track, four-disc set, along with many bands that show how vibrant the British punk world was at this time. Although light on previously unreleased material, it’s a compilation that looks beyond the bigger songs by most of the acts, occasionally showing another side to a well-known band, one that perhaps falls more directly into the UK82 category than their better known, more mainstream work. Presented on four discs in a book form case, with notes about every band included, from UK Subs to Screaming Dead, it’s a great and in-depth look at a very important part of the British music world of the era that I suspect many of you reading this will remember with affection.