B-SQUADRON: Everything You Hate
Release year: 2022
Label: Rebellion Records
One of the newer crop of UK oi! bands – relatively speaking – B-Squadron have prior to this released one album, one 7″ and taken part in some compilations. Considering their Saturday’s Soldiers EP is from 2015, “new” is indeed a relative concept.
Stylewise, there’s nothing new about this lot: classic UK oi!, gruff and heavy-handed, is what the lads from Leicester play. With more than a tad of brickwall neanderthal attitudes thrown in, this is indeed another entry in the harder spectrum of classic oi!.
The band’s debut, Sons Of Tigers from 2017, was a decent album with a nice sound and pleasantly defiant attitude. Still, it left me wanting. Maybe it was the rather worn-out choices of covers or whatnot, but it was a bit of a “close but no cigar” scenario.
Happily, for their second album, B-Squadron have taken everything up a notch. There are no covers, the own compositions are stronger, and the band sounds angrier, more menacing and violent. This is especially true of vocalist Trav, who’s vicious snarl positively reeks of violence and barely contained full-on destruction. He sounds like he’s one step away from trashing the studio and anyone in his path. Check out album highlight I Am War if you don’t believe me.
The rest of the band follow suit: there’s still not one iota of originality in here, but the band have amped up their performance that ever so elusive and important tiny bit. It’s like a brickwall take on The Last Resort mixed with The 4-Skins, with all the pent-up rage of classic Condemned 84. More than one riff reminds me of classic The Last Resort – check out the namesake song of the album and see if you don’t agree with me – but not to the point of trite carbon copying. There’s the same kind of thuggish menace here as on Resort Boot Boys or Violence On Our Minds.
In a nutshell, Everything You Hate is a step forward on every front. Its sound is even more uncompromising than the debut, and everything just clicks better in place this time around. I can’t really say the band is tighter than before – I mean, since when has this kind of oi! been about being tight? – but they sound more focused on getting that feeling of aggro conveyed to the listener.
Sure, in some ways this is “just another oi! album.” Originality is in short supply, and quite likely not a single song from the album will live on as a latter-day bootboy anthem. But so fucking what? Considering the somewhat tepid state of oi! in 2022, this is definitely a welcome kick in the arse.