Anti-Nowhere League: We Are…The League

THERE’S ONLY one League in my life. It’s not the Human League, for sure. It’s not the Ivy League either, or the League of Gentlemen. Gentlemen?! The Anti-Nowhere League: they are…the League!

Filth-rockers extraordinaire, they’ve done more for my sanity in the last six months than any other band I can think of; a riotous assembly of outrage and parody, spectacle and pulverising rock’n’roll, they’ve broken every rule of decency that there is to break with a wicked relish, a thrilling bravado, that startles and stimulates and strikes with a vengeance.

Now…beware! Better reinforce your windows, stash all glass objects in the cupboard and lock your granny in the bog. For the League, in all their lewd, crude splendour, are about to invade the comfort of your home with their debut album.

It’s so far over the top it’s in orbit, uttering the unutterable at every opportunity, yelling a defiant “eff off” at everybody and everything. It’s so extreme, it’s impossible to take offence. Take the League seriously and the joke’s on you, mate.

There’s nothing specially original about the music, but it’s presented like nothing you’ve ever heard before.

‘We’re The League’ opens the set with a brazen self-introduction and an up-yours, followed by the everything-goes ‘Animal’ which, in the grand traditions of ‘So What’ – the scourge of Scotland Yard – takes us into a pervert’s paradise of child molesters, blow-up dollies, vibrators, bestiality, peep hole knickers and God knows what else. Get that belligerent “buggery” roar!

And then a surprise. ‘Woman’, What’s this? A slow chug, Animal’s singing and what’s more, he’s singing a love song! When he gets to a recitation of the marriage ceremony, you know it can’t be real, and it’s not. On “till death do us part”, the pace lurches into a furious punk rattle and the suitor commences a manic tirade against the former object of his affections, vowing “you’re a fucking mess” and finally, “I hate you”.

Side two brings together the more familiar side of the League from their two singles: their unrepentant annihilation of ‘Streets Of London’, the current A-side ‘I Hate People’ and a disappointing new version of its B-side ‘Let’s Break The Law’, which seems to have lost the fierce edge of the seven inch rendition.

There’s disappointment, too, on ‘Nowhere Man’, mainly for the backing vocals which sound bassy and calm when they should be snarling and ultimately detract from the attacking qualities of the number. Still, those are minor quibbles when you consider the wealth of depravity elsewhere: “You’re gonna burn with me…burn, burn, burn…”

Don’t forget. The Anti-Nowhere League: they are…the League!

© Carol ClerkMelody Maker, 8 May 1982

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