Literally as I was listening to “Teeth” for the final time before writing this, news broke that Liz Truss is on the front page of the Torygraph tomorrow, with a 4000 word essay claiming “left wing economists” brought her down. Yeah, cos those hedge fund managers and speculating wankers that brought us all to our knees in 2008 are famously socialists, aren’t they?

I was scrolling through Twitter and someone I follow on there quote tweeted this over the news: “Serious question?” he’d said.  “Why do we put up with these inadequate little morons playing out their petty fucking vanities and wrecking what’s left of the country in the process?”

It’s something that gets said a lot in our house: why would anyone vote for these bastards? The answer lies in “Happy John”. Track five on this here shindig from Ginger. “Happy John, believes the news, and what they say in the interviews.” And a little later: “I wanna be a moron.”

That’s the anger that bursts forth from this – and at this point, we’d best explain what “this” is. Mention of Twitter was deliberate , as that is where I found out that Ginger was putting out a 16 track album on Bandcamp for 24 hours. “Tell all your old school punk mates” he’d said yesterday.

So now we’re all caught up, right? I paid my £12 like everyone else.

He wasn’t lying, wasn’t the boy. This is proper old school punk, but it’s also got the trademark melody that’s he’s always had. I read an interview with Ginger once where he said it came naturally, and what happens here underlines that.

“Not My Country” sets the tone. Nasty, vicious, yet somewhere in there there’s a hook. And a sense of desolation. “I can’t identify with this isle” he spits, somehow mournfully, and as someone who renounced his membership of the Labour Party a couple of years back, I can relate to the broad thesis here.

“Straight To Hate” continues the theme. “Control is a narcotic” goes its key line, over an abrasive guitar. Indeed, its all abrasive. In Wildhearts terms its “Endless Nameless” without the deliberate attempt to mislead and hide. “Digital Elimination” for example, is Agnostic Front” with they were English. Thrash? Yeah. This is hardcore punk.

There’s a nine second song: “Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Garfunkel Imitating Alex Lifeson Imitating Art” and any comparisons with Napalm Death are probably welcomed. “Underfoot” rockets along and you could imagine this as a Wildhearts b-side back in the day. “Somethin’s Telling Me Something” is one of the best here and Ginger’s vocals haven’t sounded this harsh in a long time.

“No” is another beauty. Happy to sniff glue with The Ramones but equally ready to mug them, you, whoever before the end. Like all of them, you imagine its written from a personal standpoint.

Clocking in at just 25 minutes, this is an out even quicker than “Reign In Blood”, but its striking how fully formed the songs are, “I Shit You Not, My Friend” or “Gloriously True” are examples of the form. There’s nothing approaching fat on them. Pared to the bone and the latter sounds like a gang you wouldn’t want to cross.

The bass on “Witch Hunt” is perfect, and the bile with which Ginger attacks the court of social media is stunning (“next day he’s part of a lynch mob……two faces, both of them hideous”) comes from a place of experience, you’d imagine, given what happened to him in the autumn. This is payback and it sounds sweet.

“Allenationwide” and “D.R.U.G.U.K” both prove there’s no letting up in energy – indeed it would be interesting to know if they were written specifically for this or these were songs that he’s had for years and not used as nothing fitted. Until now.

“This Is Survival” returns to a theme he’s had for decades, relationships in the modern world, and “Tubular Bellend” is doubtless the best song title in 2023. The song matches up. “Teeth”, though, saves its very best for last. “Thoughts And Prayers” (“I don’t give a shit but Jesus cares” is the next line) excoriates the US right wing: “I think all lives matter, especially if they’re white” he screams and if anything sums the seething, yet laser guided rage, that underscores this record its that line.

This is 2023. And 2023 is nasty, its violent and its uneasy as it is unequal. Music should sound like this in the post-truth era.

I mentioned Napalm Death above, and I saw them recently, opening for Volbeat and Skindred. Barney Greenway even acknowledged their presence on the bill was incongruous, and there’ll be those who don’t like “Teeth” because its too heavy, too angry, too harsh, whatever. It does stick out in the Ginger canon, but not as far, as “Mutation”, say, did.

My own personal relationship with Ginger’s solo material is akin to that of supporting a football team (ironically, I listened to “Teeth” on the way back from watching mine lose today) its not always great, but you still turn up for the next one, because sometimes they reward you with a gem like this.

Rating: as ever, no Ginger or Wildhearts release is marked out of ten on this site. It means more to me than that.

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