Stiff Little Fingers

By Garth Paulson

As is pointed out on the cover of their latest album, Guitar and Drum, Stiff Little Fingers have been around since 1977. The band, in various forms, may have been around for over 25 years but that isn’t about to stop them from still sounding like snotty, leather-clad youngsters stirring up piss and vinegar to the chagrin and delight of the British mainstream. On Guitar and Drum the band’s sound may not have changed much from anything else in their catalogue, but when they can deliver it with such conviction and obvious love for what they do, who really cares? The same roaring punk songs are here, the reggae undertones are easily found, Jake Burns is still as pissed off as ever and, frankly, I couldn’t be happier. Even though they’re old enough to be my parents, Stiff Little Fingers still deliver a solid musical kick in the ass. After all, isn’t that what punk is all about?

Oh yeah, and they score major bonus points. With the song “Strummerville,” a tribute to the Clash’s late front man Joe Strummer. “You lit a flame in my heart/and it is burning still, and every time I hear you shout/it still gives me a thrill/I can see you up there/with your right leg pumping” Amen brother. Long live 1977.