Originally formed in Luton in early 1979, UK Decay were leaders of the then emerging post-punk scene and are widely credited (or derided) with coining the term ‘Goth’ in a music press interview in Sounds music paper that subsequently inspired a movement. Part of a musical lineage that saw them emerge after Siouxsie & The Banshees and pre-fame Adam & The Ants alongside the likes of Bauhaus and Killing Joke, their single/EP releases and debut studio album For Madmen Only were substantial Independent Chart topping records , while they were also session regulars on John Peel’s Radio 1 show. Extensive touring in the UK and mainland Europe led to tours of North America – including memorable treks supporting Dead Kennedys and then headlining above a new LA punk scene containing Circle Jerks, Black Flag, DOA , Social Unrest , The Subhumans, etc – while current iconic names such as Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor and Tool have all cited UK Decay’s music and incendiary live performances as influences on their own careers.
For Madmen Only sold over 100,000 copies worldwide but UK Decay split up in late 1982 at the height of their popularity, shortly after the release of the Rising From The Dread 12” on the Corpus Christi label run by Crass. They left behind a musical legacy that inspired a new generation of acts that then emerged onto the music scene, including acts that had supported them such as Southern Death Cult, Play Dead, Black Flag, Sisters of Mercy, Social Unrest, Danse Society, Einstürzende Neubauten and DOA to name but a few. Then, more than 25 years later, UK Decay reformed for a one-off reunion show (with new drummer Raymondo replacing the sadly deceased Steve Harle). The footage appeared instantly on various social media platforms, reigniting not only their dormant fan base but also those far too young to have caught them first time around but only too aware of their legacy. Offers of live shows began to flood in and the band started to perform regularly once more, headlining festivals around Germany, Portugal and Italy and participating in ‘Punk’ events in the UK.
The winter of 2012/2013 saw UK Decay enter the studio with renowned rock producer Chris Tsangarides to record the long awaited follow-up to For Madmen Only. The resulting album, entitled New Hope For The Dead, is a heavy sonic assault built upon the politics of dissent with contents that cover big issues such as the twin evils of extremism and bigotry, the fracturing nature of society, the lack of engagement by today’s generation and the attraction of things that ultimately harm us. Never driven by aspirations of commercial success and active and outspoken on issues of racism and imperialism, singer Abbo grew up on the Farley Hill estate in Luton, “just one street away from the idiot that now fronts the English Defence League” (Abbo). In the late 70’s it reflected the social conflicts of the time; now, even more so, Luton finds itself riddled with racial tension, bigotry and violence that make it a potential blueprint of a future Britain .“We’re not here for a nostalgic reunion ,the band somehow came back together as we felt we had something to say about our times and put out music that is made of these times ” states Abbo. “There have been three or four generations of music since we originally split up, but there is a vacuum in music of any comment or action in kicking against a world of apathy, discrimination and totalitarianism.”
“We are finding that our voice resonates with old and new alike,” adds guitarist Spon. “It’s a new time but the same problems exist. We’ve always been a political band, but one that’s able to reference human passions too. The new album encapsulates all of that and presents it with a sound that is the best we’ve ever achieved.”
Retaining their original punk ethos, UK Decay remain impossible to easily categorise. Just as the original records pushed musical boundaries, the new songs defy convention. Heavy but sparse, angry yet poetic, they continue to function outside any recognisable comfort zone.
New Hope For The Dead is released by Rainbow City Records on LP, CD and download. It was purely serendipitous that the band discovered the work of Italian artist Franko B (who had relocated to London in 1979 and was involved in the anarchist punk scene of the time), and the album cover features paintings by him that amplify the themes of UK Decay’s new songs. The LP inner sleeve and CD booklet contain photography by Hugo Glendinning.
NEW HOPE FOR THE DEAD – TRACKLISTING
- Shake ‘Em Up
- Heavy Metal Jews
- Next Generation
- This City Is A Cage
- Woman With The Black Heart
- Revolutionary Love Song
- Falling Through History
- I Feel Good