The Britanarchy EP
Via mutual involvement in the Bradford music scene, I’d known a couple of members of Threshold Shift, for more than twenty years. I’d long been a fan, as evinced by the following live review which I wrote for Mono magazine after having seen them in a pub in Thackley on Saturday 23 September 2006:
We’re packed in exactly like Thackley sardines in a tin called The Great Northern: a good two hundred of us wedged into a pub built for fifty punters max. Threshold Shift are never less than fun and this is their first gig in almost a year, the drummer’s new kidney having settled in somewhere between his spine and his spleen.
Set one kicks in with Love Song followed by a stonking take on Tenpole Tudor’s Swords of a Thousand Men. There’ll be thirty-eight more songs before the night’s over. This band short-changes nobody, blasting out a blend of familiar originals, diversely sourced covers, and a bunch of brand new toonz.
Since their 1992 vinyl album, a string of gig-sold CDs have helped build their solid fan-base who now greet Bouncing and Insane with almost as much enthusiasm as the band inject into blasting them out. Then comes the first newie, a pounding pop-punker called You’ll Never Know. ACE!
Drum-driven by Bradford’s best stixman, this tight-as-fuck outfit effortlessly surfs the oozing human tsunami of sweat and booze that threatens to engulf them. Six songs in comes the matchless Slippin’ Away. And soon after that Teenage Kicks (Undertones, you ignorant shit) segues into their own Working For The Weekend. Other pre-interval stand-outs include two more of their own - Carrots and Everything – the latter as a storming set-closer straight after a sublime version of Robert Nestor Marley’s Redemption Song.
Set two opens neatly with The Damned’s Neat Neat Neat followed by a neater speedcore medley of Let’s Dance and Do You Wanna Dance that makes The Ramones sound like they played slow waltzes. Next up is Something New to prove (if proof were needed) that Threshold Shift can song-write every bit as well as they can cover. Alongside more of their own, come covers of Bolan, Elvis and one-hit-wonder The Singing Postman’s Ha’you Got Lite Boy? that’s long been a mainstay of their live show. Oh yeah, and The Damned, Marley and The Ramones all resurface (with New Rose, Armagideon Times and Blitzkreig Bop respectively).
A great, great night… and the after-gig party wasn’t half bad either. So where were you if you missed it? Somewhere worse, that’s where.
So I was more than happy when, in 2010, the band’s frontman and main song-writer, Mick Barrett, suggested that he and I get together and try setting some of my lyrics to music with a view to recording them with the band. After a few sessions round at Mick’s, we’d worked out four songs using one old lyric, Hey Wow! Zap-Pow!, and three brand new ones, Monkey Brain and Have Fun, Be Fun, and Shitsong. Rehearsals with the band followed and, on Tue 10 and Wed 11 August 2010, we recorded all four in Mutiny Studios. I was on lead vocals with Mick and Phil Hey on guitars and backing vocals, Kenny Armitage on bass and Paul ‘Chillo’ Child on drums. The session was engineered and the tracks then mixed and produced by James Atkinson, another mainstay of the local music scene
In 2011, our limited edition 5-track E.P., Britanarchy, was released on Not-a-Rioty, the fifth track being the result of us having recorded two versions of Have Fun, Be Fun – one with and one without swearing! No copies remain, but you can download the EP or hear some of the tracks by clicking on the links above.