By Jono Coote
August 9, 2013
One of the various bands who came together under the Crass Records umbrella, Flux Of Pink Indians have always stood out from many of their contemporaries due to an ear for a hook which made much of their catalogue essential for anyone interested in anarcho-punk or protest music of any kind. Their debut album Strive to Survive Causing the Least Suffering Possible, along with first EP Neu Smell, showcase the band at their rawest and most powerful, blending the anger and social conscious of Crass with the more melodic sounds which drove both the new wave and Oi! movements and the heaviness of the emerging American hardcore sound. Thankfully both are seeing reissue this month as part of one release by record label One Little Indian – a long overdue happening which leaves me happily sitting here on a Friday night after work with a beer and the album blasting before the night’s live music begins.
The album opens with the poem ‘Song for Them’ (its expletory-backed anti-poverty rant unfortunately still as relevant today as upon its release in 1981), which only lasts for a few seconds before a wall of distorted guitars and pounding drums hits like a nuclear explosion. This refuses to let up for the next 40 odd minutes, battering the listener with a rage that is clearly very real while all the time staying suitably coherent to express the reasons for this anger. This uncompromising sound hits me the same way it did when I first listened to ‘Why’ by Discharge (with whom they shared a drummer, albeit at different times), but with an ear for a hook which that band lacked, and which makes more than a few of the tracks on Strive to Survive standouts; ‘Some of us Scream, Some of us Shout’ with its shouted gang vocals, the sludgy opening of ‘TV Dinners’ building to a frenzy, the TSOL-esque guitar work which opens ‘They Lie We Die’ – all seemingly small sums of a part which manages to maintain interest for the whole record without seemingly ever letting up on energy levels. The undoubted highlight for me has to be ‘Progress’, a distorted shout-along which ranks as possibly one of the best tunes of this era, and is a frequent inclusion on my playlists for long car journeys. Similarly, the song which opens the Neu Smell EP at the end of this reissue has long been a part of this crew’s drinking and music nights; ‘Tube Disaster’, with its darkly humorous lyrics and deceptively catchy chorus, is a song which the band are probably sick of being asked about, but which is a classic nonetheless.
Listening through the album from start to finish, one thing which strikes immediately is the lack of filler. While many of their peers were releasing albums which demanded at least a few reaches for the skip button, Strive to Survive… is a fun but thought provoking blast for the whole ride. Add in the demos and live disc which come with the CD release, and the reissue is well worth getting your grubby hands on!