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Bad Reputation

December saw the release of Close Shave's second album outing since they got back together. Having done artwork for the first CD, I was asked to design the 2nd one. It appeared some of the tracks had already seen an outing on the first CD so I wasn't expecting anything any different than what had already been released. How wrong I was to be. I had heard good reports about it prior to listening to it. The quality compared to the previous album really shines through. Even tracks like My Brother Mark, The Real Oi!, Won't Say Sorry and Can't Stand Northern Soul have been improved upon no end. I found myself liking them a lot more this time around. The sound is of a quality on a par with Oi! classics of the golden years by The Rejects, Sparrer, 4-Skins, Business and the Last Resort. I swear I can even hear some Ramones and some Upstarts in there somewhere.

The songs that stand out on the album are Who Made You the Voice of the National Conscience, A Sapper's Tale, The title track - Bad Reputation and the rework of You're Wondering Now. It does actually work well yet still true enough to the original. I don't know what has happened between the two albums but I should imagine a lot of hard work and a lot of thought about the songwriting. There are some memorable riffs, some great bass-line breaks and a lot of great guitar soloing that make this album deserved of the title of "Best Oi! album in years". If you have Made in Brum and were in any doubt about getting the follow-up CD - don't hesitate. Their critics would like nothing more than to see them fail but based on this CD, they have proved themself to be producing the best streetpunk in the UK bar none. You wil  NOT be disappointed. I give it at least 9/10.

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