A new Cock Sparrer CD is here after ten long years, and not only does it sound great, it tips well and can be applied directly to warts. I hesitate calling them the first Oi band as it's not my fight, and I mostly agree with the assessment Sparrer and others were proto-Oi bands. Sparrer have been going at it for thirty odd years, tower over their peers as musicians, and in Here We Stand have recorded the best album of their career.
The only complaint I have with Here We Stand is how the tracks were ordered (I just got word the American release will address this issue). Sparrer deliver three types of songs: thoughtful laments on what once was and is either no more or has gone wrong, funny tales of corner pub numbnuttery, and positive anthems of pride. They write catchy tunes in their sleep, as do The Buzzcocks. You somehow expect more than that from Cock Sparrer. I graded eight of the fourteen tracks eight. Here We Stand is front-loaded with eights that hit similar themes. The best tracks, and many of their best don't take themselves seriously, don't kick in until the middle. The best are "Spirit Of '76", "Last Orders", "Suicide Girls", "Sussed", "Don't Stop", "Despite All This" and "Too Late".
With Cock Sparrer you can always rely on simple melodies improved upon to the point of excellence, rollicking bass guitar, soaring guitar chords and clever single note progressions, well-written humor, great sing-alongs, and they do some of their best work during what's esoterically known at The Truck Driver's Gear Change.
Cock Sparrer lyrics are the best. From "Last Orders": "Four pints of lager later things went from bad to worse/ She came back from the toilet, caught me going through her purse/ She said forget the taxi, you're gonna need a hearse/ There's time for one last round// One tequila, two tequila, three tequila four/ I knew I wasn't drunk I had a good grip on the floor/ I puckered up to kiss her but she punched me in the jaw/ Time for one last round". From "Suicide Girls": "For a lifetime or a single night/ You might get into her world/ That'd be strictly by invite/ She's with the Suicide Girls// Just don't try to take her away/ You'll be dead before you fail// Get in the back seat and know your place/ She's with the Suicide Girls."
Here We Stand is the best effort so far from the best Oi band the universe has burped up so far. You can still be a punk and not like Here We Stand, but you'd be a part-time punk at best.