1977 is remembered by me for a number of things, culturally, musically and personally. I grew up in reasonable comfort, the son of a postman and a school cleaner, with two younger brothers, in lower middle class suburbia. I was fortunate enough to have a room to myself, and, through the Direct Grant system in the early 1970s, I had a place at a minor (all male) private school as a day boy. Possibly because of my humble yet aspirational upbringing and my somewhat privileged education, coupled with the hormonal problems of adolescence, I found that I developed a tendency to be somewhat of a rebel. I didn't quite fit in to the world of my school contemporaries, and felt an increasing need to kick against 'the man'. The advent of punk was an excellent vehicle for that - it was a soundtrack to rebellion in the year of Jubilee (and our school's centenary).
That's kind of how it felt then, but how does it look and sound now? Well, as punk albums go this one does have a certain substance to it that some of the others lacked, though there is a lack of subtlety about the songs that, at the time, was endearing but now seems a little repetitive. The songs are, bar 'Police & Thieves', short - between 3:12 and 1:34 - and simple in structure and rhythm. The vocals are suited to the subject matter of the songs: direct, abrupt and earthy, and the musicianship is similarly to the point - nothing unnecessary, just raw (that word again) power. But that was punk, and these guys did it very well. Lyrically there is perhaps a little more depth than others were managing at the time, and there is certainly more about political frustrations here than there is about love. I was thinking that in terms of song length this is very much like an early Beatles album, but certainly not in terms of subject matter.
As a commentary on its time and the social milieu of late '70s Britain this is a valuable and relevant piece of work, and can be appreciated as such. But subtle it is not!