September 23, 2022

This is a very accomplished debut EP, from a ‘New Wave’ (in the 70’s sense) foursome based (surprise, surprise) in Barking, and often to be seen/heard in and around Camden. Barking Poets are a melodic punk rock band based in London, founded in 2019 by four experienced musicians from the London, Bristol and Dublin underground scenes. Their lyrics echo the concerns of our time such as climate change, racism, austerity or populist politics. They’re multi-talented and quite out-spoken, with a passion for old-school heroes like the Clash (obv!), New Model Army(natch!) Ramones, and The Who; plus more contemporary influences from the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, Green Day…..and they especially remind me of another local(-ish) crew with the same passions, Stevie Jones and The Wildfires.

Barking Poets are: Harvey Springfield – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica; Neil Murray – Lead guitar and backing vocals;
Conor Heary – Drums and backing vocals; Serg Moreno. – Bass. (Ander Mendia plays bass at live gigs since June 2021)

This is their rocking, some might say rabble-rousing, debut album, ‘Back To Abnormal‘, set for release on 1st October, both on CD and across all digital channels, with a vinyl version to follow as soon as the pressing plants catch up!’ Back to Abnormal’ is as bold as it is romantic, with six sing-along street anthems all wrapped up in cover-art designed by illustrator and tattoo-artist Dan Allen, the front-man for like-minded Norwich band Ducking Punches.

The title of Back To Abnormal is a nod at the young environmentalists who claim we shouldn’t return to the dysfunctional pre-covid systems, and this topic is central to several of the new tracks, especially the sarcastic ‘Children of the World Wide Web’. The spirit of Joe strummer lives long and beats strong in these guys! In addition to power-pop riffs galore, they’re snappy tuneful little ditties that will have you jumping around, tapping your feet and chanting to in no time!

In addition, like me, the band support and donate to the #saveourvenues campaign run by the Music Venue Trust, and this ongoing venue crisis and gentrification of clubs and pubs is accurately addressed on their track When The Bands Are Gone (their upcoming new single – watch the video below, go buy the single and Support the Cause please!) The guys are passionate (NOT like ‘the apprentices’!), they have a lot to say and aim to get people to listen, whilst still producing high quality music. So, for example, their soul-lifting debut single “Make Me Strong” was released at the start of the pandemic and they donated the takings from their merch sales to the #SaveOurVenues campaign, bless’em! Their second single “When I Am King” continues in their style of mixing the anthemic punk of The Clash and The Gaslight Anthem with the protest lineage of Neil Young and Billy Bragg, and was captured in an enthralling video premiered on Facebook Live in September 2020. Rockers is pure Clash, and the mini-album’s closer Slumming It brings back great memories of New Model Army and more recently The Wildfires – it’s all great stuff!

Enter 2022 and beyond and we now have Barking Poets with their debut mini-album Back to Abnormal produced by Paul Tipler (Idlewild, Reuben, Elastica, Placebo) at Stereolab’s studio in London. Supporting videos and gigging have ensued and the future looks bright (for the band, that is!) And here’s a quick plug for Engineer Records, promoting new local bands – good on ’em!

lurv the CBGB’s tee!