This wonderful album will moisten the eye of many an old punk, recalling as it does, in its conciseness, attack and sheer energy, those halcyon days when those of a certain age would rush back to their bedsit hovel from the local Our Price clutching the first Clash or Jam album.
Those early punk albums were akin to the Holy Grail for the class of ’77 and it’s no mean achievement for Lomax to recapture the spirit of that era without descending into mere imitation.
Anyone who has already invested in the singles Anglicised and Brought To Rights, both included here, or caught the band supporting The Rapture and French Kicks, will know what to expect from Lomax’s long overdue debut album, namely three-minute slabs of bass-heavy riffing topped off with a distinctly Weller-esque vocal.
Opening track The Bodies Pf Journalists is an effective statement of intent, even if it does take aim at rather an obvious target. Arnstein’s Ladder sounds like an In The City outtake while also proving that there’s a lot more to this band than meets the ear. As with other parts of the album the lyrics for this song have an almost Biblical, apocalyptic quality: “Learn to use your mind again and let iron fists in velvet gloves become the tools of mortal men.”
It gets better. When The Pressure’s On is an unrelenting noise-fest, in the mode of Wire or early Joy Division, while Anglicized and Knuckleheads sound like The Fall on one of their better days. But, while all the copious musical reference points single this album out as very much a product of the early 21st century, A Symbol Of Modern Living also has moments of startling originality, the moody Principles and unrelenting sonic assault of An End being but two cases in point.
A particular highlight is Modern Life, an inspirational m�lange of funk and rock whose lyric happens to provide the album with its title as well as such defiant stream of consciousness lines as: “Dumbstruck millions with heartache conditions. Would justice evade you if you had the heart to say; What is the reason I got here?”
Although it’s suddenly become fashionable to have at least a veneer of political commitment, Lomax are the real thing, creating focused, almost desperate music that captures the spirit of the times better than just about anything around at the moment. It’s almost enough to restore your faith in rock and roll.