Most have heard of the Subhumans and Citizen Fish but Culture Shock less so, the shorter-lived influence outfit. The band breathed early doors ska-punk-dub-reggae life in between Subhumans and Citizen Fish for Dick Lucas who also fronted and fronts Culture Shock, which began in England in 1986 soon after the Subhumans broke up and ended 3 albums and 3 years later.
Back now in 2016 with their 1st recording in 25 years, in the form of 10-track album, ‘Attention Span’. The new album follows the success of their 2012 release, ‘Everything’, (their 3 albums and demos) which ignited the band’s full reformation. The line up remains almost the same as the original band, with Bill (drums), Jasper (bass & also original Citizen Fish member), Dick (vocals), with the addition of Alex (also from Citizen Fish) on guitar.
The album opens with ‘Visibility’ sounding as if not too much has changed expect some of the narrative. Up-temp ska guitar in part unpinning a solid alternative vocal amongst a healthy fusion of dub and loose reggae associations, on this occasion tackling issues of the digital age, like internet privacy and ‘social media. The good start. continues the enthusiasm from 2012, with ‘Mindwash’ which should also keep many a festival tent bouncing, before the hip figure 8 with titled posture, alternate foot off the grass, for the chorus you bounce back with your best rude-boy meets student pogo. ‘Mindwash’ has all of the components to satisfy topped by another Dick Lucas’ tight lyric, punched inspired stomp. This is where Blaggers ITA, Back To The Planet, even the Bagdaddies may nod a head in recognition.
From tracks like ‘Uncivilised’, ‘Someone Has To Pay’ to ‘Private Revolutions’ and ‘Sky High’ if you hear them live, it would lead to the need for more hydration, maybe an energy drink as the the beat and guitar weave such an energised human response. I’ve read that the new album bridges Subhumans’ to early Citizen Fish perceived gap, to me it’s more of a jigsaw, it’s up to Culture Shock how many pieces there are going to be, but already, it’s looking good. ‘Attention Span’ works well, not of universal appeal, just mass appeal to the like-minded. Given the recent UK EU referendum result, economic and political meltdown as the unravelling continues, expect to hear a lot more from the 5-piece, hopefully for years to come, in an uncertain future, at least the music is getting better. 8.6/10