Spanner – We Won’t Be Stopped



From Just Some Punk Songs:

12 tracks of agitation and revolt in which the lyrics are lengthy and thought provoking whilst the music will get you dancing as you rage against abuse and brutality, raise your fists to fight fascism, pile your barricades high to thwart the bailiffs or bring Jeremy Kyle to account. I can’t imagine why anyone who’s reading this wouldn’t want this album so go get it, listen to it and join the struggle.

From Underdog Zine:

Seit 2000 vermischt SPANNER Politik und Spaß und wollen daran beteiligt sein, wenn es Zeit ist, auf den Ruinen des Imperiums zu tanzen. Barrikaden- und PartisanInnen-Ska, als Beitrag für den Soundtrack zur Revolution, der sowohl Tanz als auch direkte Action impliziert.

Die roh-raue Mixtur aus Conflict, Chumbawamba, The Autonomads entfacht eine auf Freiheit für Alle basierende Vernunft mit “Wreck, Rebel, Revolt, Rethink, Reject”_Attitüde. DIY Punk und Ska als Transportmittel innerhalb einer widerständigen Kultur und Partyszene im Squat, auf Wiesen und Feldern, auf Baustellen, bei Demos, auf Lastwagen, in Vereinen, in Lagerhäusern, Kneipen, unter Autobahnbrücken…Beeinflusst von den 90er-Jahren Party, Reggae, Folk, Anarcho-Punk sorgen Empowerment, Empathie und politische Radikalität für eine “get organised”-Wirkung, für gestreckte Fäuste und turbulente musikalische Rhythmik, die oft in längeren spoken words-Passagen münden, Statements und Botschaften, die ein authentisches, ehrliches Go Go Go “for all the trouble makers and the rebels” skandieren. Musik für Herz, Hirn und Haltung, nimmermüde, die antifaschistische Perspektive und den Kampf gegen Rechts in die Herzen von KapitalistInnen, PolizistInnen, Chefs und PolitikerInnen zu injizieren. Der tolle mehrstimmige Gesang, die abrupt geänderte Rhythmik von HC in den Ska-/Dub-Modus, gelegentlich eingestreuten Rap-Parts (“Sick to death”) und die schwungvolle Spielart sind ein Garant für den Tanz auf den Barrikaden, einem Anarcho-Folk-Class War, der wütend ist und befreiend wirkt.

From Organise Magazine:

Fans will welcome the first full length release from Bristol’s finest ska’d up anarchist punk export, Spanner, since 2011’s Crisis, but there is plenty here for new comers as well. Into their existing sound they have woven elements of folk, dub, spoken word, French hip hop, and on one track Bad Religion style ‘oozing ahhs’ accompanying a melodic hardcore intro. The musical changes are accompanied with a shake up of vocal duties, with every member of the band and numerous guest vocalists taking a turn on the mic, and joining together for choruses. It all combines to form a sound that feels like it was created as part of a real community, much like the best of Chumbawamba’s records.

Its certainly a sound that is well earned, as Spanner have always followed up their words with deeds. Track 10, ‘All Over the Place’, is all about their experiences throwing themselves into the DIY music scene, long stretches of touring and a thriving ‘resistance culture’. You’re also likely to find the band members anywhere there is a demonstration to be had, solidarity funds to be raised, or trouble to be caused. It’s this direct involvement that lends weight to the lyrical content, and allowed them to successfully sue South Wales police to raise funds for making the album!

‘Property Wrongs’ features perhaps the most instantly infections lyrics, after all who could resist joining in with a shout of ‘SCUM LANDLORDS’? There is certainly a lot of anger at the state of the world throughout many of the tracks, something which any of us paying attention will share. Other targets of the band’s wrath include the alienation of having our social interactions mediated by online companies in the more ‘traditional Spanner’ ska-punk opening track ‘Immobilised’. ‘Always Antifascist’ aims its anger at not just the fascists but the self appointed leaders of the left who would rather we politely protested away from the fash. The spoken word and folk laden ‘Apotheosis’ takes aim at organised religion, and Jeremy Kyle gets his comeuppance in the eclectic ‘The Peoples Trial of Jeremy Kyle’.

Beyond all the insight, and well directed rage is something much rare, and far more important. Optimism. It’s not often any of us can manage to be earnestly positive, instead we use self deprecation, cynicism and sarcasm as the tried and tested coping mechanisms (very British of us!). Loudly exclaiming that we can, and will, win is something we need more of, and is a running theme here, most notable in the energetic harmonies of ‘Impossible’.

We Won’t be Stopped is a great edition to any rebel’s record collection, and I highly recommend banging it on before you head out on your next direct action. Don’t just take my word for it, you can listen to the album in full on Spanner’s bandcamp, and order a copy on Vinyl or CD. Despite their many valid critiques of social media, you can also like them on facebook, and find out when they are coming to a town near you.

From OjoXOjo zine:

El Ultimo LP de estos anarcopunks de Bristol, Inglaterra, es un verdadero viaje politico-musical. Politico porque Spanner se aleja de las tipicas consignas y propone letras muy bien pensadas sobre temas diversos pero que impactan en nuestra vida diaria: el peligro de las redes sociales, los desalojos, el peso de la religion, el DIY, la solidaridad en nuestras comunidades, la necesidad de no bajar los brazos y seguir luchando… en resumen: la esperanza de vencer a este maldito sistema.

Musical porque Spanner propone un excelente ska-punk muy a la inglesa: una mezcla de Conflict con The Specials (muy a la Inner Te- rrestrials o a la No Respect).!Rifado carnal.a!

From Punk News:

Tasteful anarcho ska-punk in the classic British tradition of the earliest works of Chumbawamba. Hailing from Bristol, Spanner wallop their horns out from your stereo with clear intent, sharp wit, and infectious songsmithing on their second album We Won’t be Stopped. The brass work is well utilized and just askew of center stage for much of this carnivalist, revelrant record. It’s an artful approach to brandishing and taming the anger spilt across the musical landscape of political punk, a statement of defiance and vision in contrast to their contemporaries, and a proclamation that they don’t need all the noise or distortion to harness our anger into a political movement– that speaking with honesty and clarity and the promise of working toward a better tomorrow is all the hope a rebellion needs to thrive.

The ska elements are handled deftly and, as I’d characterize it, decidedly British; understated as a caution against oversweetening the composition. It’s a much more second-wave flavor and a couple great tracks swirl around a dollop of Dub. The overall effect is a very effortless attitude hanging above the tracks, utilized intrinsically in the songwriting and indulging terrifically melodic chorus craft.

The agenda for this record is jam packed with social ails and their prescribed punk rock remedies, and to accomplish all we aim for on such inspired anarcho releases such as these we’re treated first to an opening track setting the tone for our work ahead, and by time we wring out our runtime we’ll have an honest road map to getting our hands dirty. We Won’t be Stopped sees many tempo changes throughout the album, but Spanner hit their finest stride at a nice mid-tempo. On a track or two the band is a bit too quick footed for their heads and hands and show some cracks along the way; see “Above it All” for a band stumbling through a time signature. Do be sure to stick around for the immediate compensatory piece, the terrifically slowed down and perfect example of a low-tempo ska ballad “Chagossian Heartbreak”. Heartbreak is an apt signifier, regarding its lyrical sorrow directed at colonialism’s generational impacts on Africa and her people. A couple constants through the first-half’s change-ups being the hollers from the rear of the stage and the male and female vocals often sharing the mic at the same time, creating a festivitous air about the proceedings.  “Impossible” accomplishes the timeless ska illusion of crafting a horn riff that feels as though you’re just now dropping in on a melody that’s been blowing for eons before you came along to it, familiar and long-toothed even upon first listen.

The second half of the album (well, the portion on the other side of ‘The People’s Trial of Jeremy Kyle’) does start to drag on a bit, but does so in a comfortable groove reminiscent of when the big name first-wave punk bands mattered. Not every lick and line are as clever as the band would sell you on, there’s some clumsy writing structures, uneven syllable sorts, and a bit of lyricism that comes on as cheesy a time or two. As easy as these are to highlight or dock ‘em points for, these instances are just more endearing evidence drawing them closer to their influences; Chumbawama and The Clash were never completely clear of similar criticisms of hokeyness or cornball tendencies.

Brilliant closer ‘Cadet Cops on Fire’ is an excellent and inspirational outro, featuring spoken word over nontraditional instrumentalism, striking the perfect chord of forward movement and introspective action while providing for a space-clearing exit from the album that ensures you don’t escape the album’s ideas. This is the audio equivalent of handing every attendee an activation pamphlet on their way out the tent, a call to continue the search and evangelize the message out into the world. It’s an imperfect mobilization anthem crafted from a rich tradition with an ear to our past but an eye to our future.