As you’d expect, UK Subs aren’t who they used to be. Harper is the only original member (long-time guitarist Nicky Garratt is long gone) and he’s joined by Alvin Gibbs - ex-Iggy Pop sideman and author of ace tour diary “Neighbourhood Threat” – someone called  Jet on guitar and Jamie Oliver on drums (no, not that one.)

The song choices on “Subversions” signals that Charlie was an R ‘n’ B pub rocker before he was a punk. In UK Subs’ hands, “Train Kept a Rollin’” is now running on nuclear power, not steam. They brutalise the Saints’ “This Perfect Day” (and dull its edge to these ears) but “Suffragette City” gets its engine re-bored, shaking off its glam-boogie feel and growing a larger set of testicles.

None of us needed to hear another cover of “Kick Out The Jams”, right? UK Subs actually make a good first of it. Rob Tyner was a hard act to follow but Harper sings the shit out of the song. I could do without their take on QOTSA’s “Feel Good Hit of Summer” (although Gibbs’ take no prisoners bass-lines rule) and the cover of Motorhead’s “Bomber” pales against the original. 

On the other hand, UK Subs’ rocking version of “Get Out of Denver” is a reminder that Bob Seger once did rock quite righteously. Blues harp blasts through the mix like a headlight on the front of a freight train. While Charlie doesn’t reach the same vocal heights as Steve Marriott on “I Don’t Need No Doctor” that’s no crime; he and his Subs scuzz things up enough to pull it off.

Covers albums can be pointless. This on's a blast.


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