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Subhumans: Same Thoughts Different Day (2010) September 25, 2010

Posted by sjroby in Canadian content, Music.
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Same Thoughts Different Day

Subhumans: Same Thoughts Different Day

Back in early 1982 I bought the album Incorrect Thoughts by the Subhumans, the punk band from Vancouver who’d formed a few years earlier (before the UK band with the same name). It was, by turns, savage and funny, a powerhouse of an album that was pure punk but undeniably rock as well. I’d heard of them a couple of years earlier; they were part of the same scene as Canadian punk rock legends D.O.A. I managed to find the Subhumans’ Death Was Too Kind EP in the next year or so, and several years later found a bootleg reissue of a single of theirs, and that was it for a long time. I never saw them live, though singer Brian “Wimpy Roy” Goble joined D.O.A. for a while, and he was with them the first time I saw them.

Anyway, unlike D.O.A., whose leader Joe Keithley (a.k.a. Joey Shithead) has soldiered on through countless lineups, the Subhumans seemed to disappear from view for a long time. And so did that first album of theirs. I occasionally looked for a digital version of it but all I found were mp3s of an unusually wrong version of the record: different tracklisting, extra songs, different mixes of the familiar songs. It just wasn’t right. Turns out an unscrupulous American label put out a version of the album, and despite its dubious legality, the band hasn’t had the money to take the label to court. (Other bands have been screwed over by the same label.)

So, when the Subhumans returned from their lengthy hiatus a few years ago, with a strong new album solidly in their classic style, interest in Incorrect Thoughts was revived. And the band decided to do what a few other artists have done: they rerecorded the songs, added a few previously unreleased/unrecorded songs, and gave it the title Same Thoughts Different Day. So how does it compare? Well, I won’t lie — I still love the original LP. But given a choice between the unauthorized release and this new version, it isn’t just fannish loyalty that makes me put the new CD out in front. It’s well recorded and well played, with as much passion and energy as ever. It kicks ass and it sounds great. Not bad for a band with three out of four members of the classic lineup, thirty years later.

And lo, it came to pass a week ago that I finally got to see the band play live. And damn, it was fun. There were a few of us old farts in our late 40s or above, and a lot of young punks in their 20s, maybe a few in between, and we all enjoyed it. It was a small club, should have been a bigger crowd, but the beer was good and the music was loud. Got some stuff by one of the local opening bands, too. Now to see who I can get to go see D.O.A. at the same club in a week or two…

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