The Mob, Pawns, Pobreza Mental

The Mob

The Mob formed in the far reaches of Somerset, England sometime in the late 1970's just as the UK anarchopunk scene was taking shape. The band at this time was the trio of Mark (guitar, vocals, lyrics), Graham (drums), and Curtis (bass). From out in the dark hills this group arrived at an extreme and unique sound: menacing, brooding, and extremely dark music and words with none of the speed or spectacle of their contemporaries. The Mob (perhaps because of their seclusion as a young band) arrived at an inward-looking but equally urgent approach to that of the urban punk set. The bass and drums drove forward unrelentingly as the guitar chopped and slashed fragmented riffs underneath Mark's life-drained, monotone singing. The band's first single Crying Again was released in 1979 (the same year they did some gigs in Holland) on their own All the Madmen Records and was followed by Witch Hunt in 1980. The second single fortified the Mob sound into a powerful combination of anger and despair. The needle drops on the record and a blood-curtling scream erupts. Then, charging out from the gloom, a sound like an advancing army. Droning bass, robotic drums, a guitar being bashed like an anvil. A sour voices erupts with, "Stubbing out progress where seeds are sown. Killing off anything that's not quite known. Sitting around in a nice, safe home - waiting for the witch hunt." The Mob combined the bleak imagery and slower tempos of the early gothic/death rock sound with a more DIY punk consciousness and aggression.

In 1981, Mark and Curtis moved to London and recruited drummer Josef Portar (also of Zounds). They instantly caught the attention of Penny Rimbaud, drummer for the seminal anarchopunk band Crass, who recruited them for a single on Crass Records. Legend has it that this all came about because Zounds and the Mob were touring together and their van broke down a few miles from Crass' house. No Doves Fly Here is not-quite-like anything else the Mob (or any other group) ever recorded. This is partly because of the tune's violently slow pace and vivid anti-war lyrics. It's also due to the production tweaks added later by Rimbaud, including his famous sound clips and a very prominent synth track that the band hadn't expected. The intense power of the song, combined with Crass' better distribution, forever earned the Mob (and amazing labelmates like Zounds, Lack of Knowledge, Rudimentary Peni, and Flux of Pink Indians) that pesky 'Crass band' label. They played the infamous Zig Zag squat gig with Crass in 1982, along with some of the best in political UK punk.

In 1982, The Mob returned to doing it themselves and released their full length on All the Madmen. This LP found their minimalist style refined to near perfection. From the opening track "Another Day, Another Death," to the closing (a reprise of "Witch Hunt"), the album never closes its eyes on the filthy, blood-soaked world it inhabits. Tunes like "I Wish" and "Dance On (You Fool)" add biting irony to the Mob's arsenal of dark emotions. Although the words offer little hope of escape, the Mob did something powerful that goes almost unnoticed beneath the gloom: they conveyed hope. Not just in their carefully chosen images of rising suns and birds taking flight, but in the way they came together to make music for people like themselves. The album's title: Let the Tribe Increase is the hidden essence of the Mob. In the end, they were not about isolation and despair but rather inclusion and resistance. Unlike a band like Joy Division, who were mainly interested in climbing to the outer-ledge of despair, the Mob were extending a hand to anyone who was listening out there. Their music and the way they made it is a direct reaction to the dreary things they sing about.

The final new Mob release was the Mirror Breaks 7", followed by a 12" repress of their first single with featuring five live bonus tracks spanning their entire discography.. By then, All the Madmen had been handed over to friends of the band. The group disbanded after playing their last show in November of '83 at the Doncaster Co-op hall. The band's singles were repressed and smartly repackaged as the Madpack in 1987, but the best introduction to the band is the complete double LP/CD discography released recently by Rugger Bugger and Broken Rekids. I've heard talk of a vinyl release of their original Ching demo tape sometime soon, as well. Keep your fingers crossed, as the world can never have too much music from this amazing band. Also, look for Lance Hahn's upcoming book about UK peace punk or check out the article he wrote on the Mob in MRR (not sure which #).

Anarcho / deathrock band from New York City formed in 2014.

Pobreza Mental

American hardcore-punk band from New York City.

$12.00 - $15.00

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