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Killing Time

U.K. Subs

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Album Review

For the 1988 album Killing Time, U.K. Subs frontman Charlie Harper brought back the original lineup of guitarist Nicky Garratt and bassist Alvin Gibbs after a five-year absence. Garratt and Gibbs were present during the Subs' most successful albums, so it seemed only natural that a reunion album would serve to rekindle the magic of that period. Unfortunately, the reunion turned out better on paper than in reality. Though the opener, "Yellowman," is a throwback to the classic political fury of classic Subs albums, the rest of the album sounds forced and bloodless. The band came up short with songs, resulting in a lot of formless music that apes other post-punk and hard rock bands, all played without any real conviction. With some tracks, such as "Planet I," it becomes easy to forget that this is the U.K. Subs And not the Cult or Love and Rockets. The band especially hits a low with "Nico," an ill-conceived tribute to the Velvet Underground chanteuse that is embarrassingly maudlin (unheard of for such a notoriously uncompromising band). Killing Time is a deeply disappointing album from these usually-superior punk pioneers. ~ Victor W. Valdivia, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1976

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As part of the original punk rock movement in England during the mid-'70s, the U.K. Subs scored several hit singles in their homeland, switching between politically charged material and party-hearty rockers. Led by singer Charlie Harper (who previously fronted a R&B outfit called the Marauders), the U.K. Subs formed in November of 1976, after Harper discovered the Damned. Originally called the Subversives before shortening their name, Harper recruited guitarist Nicky Garratt, bassist Steve Slack,...
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Killing Time, U.K. Subs
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