Louder Than War
Glasgow’s Fit To Work was a definite highlight among highlights for myself. Already on fire at The Bread Shed when we stumbled in and upon them (metaphorically), I was blown away by both sound and performance. The on-stage persona of mouthpiece Harry Josephine Giles is the cream on top of a US Hardcore c1982 sound that these Glaswegians thrash out with true style. It was both mesmerizing and life-affirming.
Fit to Work is a typical example of a band who I had never heard previously, saw them play live and they totally blew me away. Total top notch hardcore with great humour to match! The gig took me back to when I was just getting into punk and was being introduced to the magical thing that is DIY punk. It sounds like a cliché, but it totally reminded me of why I love this music, the individuals who make up the ‘scene’ and the willingness for people to pitch in and make things happen. Fit to Work provided that soundtrack to that moment and they’ve been on my iPod ever since!
FIT TO WORK, bringing, together some of Orkney’s most talented musical expats —
Harry Giles (vocals), Daniel Firth (guitar), Duncan Harcus (bass), and Iain Stewart (drums) — had people talking before they’d even played a single note. The consensus of the crowd seemed to be that this was one of THE bands to see and, for many, the very reason they had headed out for such an early evening slot.
This four-piece force didn’t disappoint. Orkney crowds are sometimes a peedie bit shy when it comes to moving closer to the stage, until they’ve had a chance to sample a beverage or two — but there was no keeping away from this band. In terms of grabbing folk’s attention, Fit to Work have really got it all. Throbbing bass and breakneck guitar chords, backed with supersonic drumbeats – it was a wake up call for all those in need of a second wind:
Slamming headfirst into a head-thrashing. high-octane hysteria, it was a difficult task to stand still, and I soon became part of a small contingent of moshers down the front. It was impossible not to get caught up in the sheer energy of the singer, whose onstage charisma — wrapped up in overtly political lyrics — was a sensational thrill for both your eyes and ears.
The Punk Site
The fact that a member of Cradle Of Filth is involved in Fit To Work should have given you a hint that this was going to be an intense EP, and it is, this is five tracks of relentless hardcore crossover. The Voluntary Severance EP randomly hits you with fury whether they’re declaring We Will Kill Again or that All Cats Are Beautiful, politics come to the fore with the wonderfully titled Friends Don’t Let Friends Become Men’s Rights Activists before the EP goes out kicking and screaming with Admit It and Your Ontology is Fucking Basic. The five tracks are done and dusted in around twelve hectic minutes, the result is that Voluntary Severance is as frantic and in your face as anything I’ve heard this year.
There’s an obvious political influence that defines Fit To Work, the band’s name refers to the cruel assessments that have left many in the UK who suffer from physical disabilities and mental health issues living in poverty, the other side to Fit To Work is that they are fun, they remind me of the UK’s hardcore scene in the eighties where the political message was clear but the bands, for the most part, didn’t take themselves too seriously. The kind of intense hit that Fit To Work deliver will always be best experienced live, but having said that, Voluntary Severance is an EP that indicates that hardcore is alive and well North of the border.
Voluntary Severance can be streamed and purchased via Bandcamp here.
Fit To Work describe themselves as a “Quasi-autonomous non-governmental punk music. Bred in Orkney, based in Glasgow.” The Scottish punksters have just released their sophomore EP, Voluntary Severance.
The opening barnstormer, We Will Kill Again, is full of rage, screamed vocals, pounding drums, fast riffs and a hardcore punk approach that combines Black Flag with the Idles and the chunky chorus is simply brilliant! The intriguingly titled All Cats Are Beautiful juxtaposes an anti-police rage with the repeated title all on top of a hardcore punk backing…wow!!
Friends Don’t Let Friends Become Men’s Rights Activists lays the band’s political affiliations on the line and we are with them all the way attacking false equivalents of weak and scared men and the growled vocals add to the urgency supplied by the 150mph musical backing!
On Admit It, Fit To Work continue the momentum with some searing riffs, machine gun drums and desperate vocal interplays and the EP closes with the excellently titled, Your Ontology Is Fucking Basic (made us smile). With a tribal drum roll introduction and some dirty bass licks, the song builds to a level of tension, clever lyrics intermingling with a variety of vocal deliveries and some sheer breathless pace and power…phew!!
CD ROM #7: Dealing with anger in the workplace:
They exploded out of my speakers with a delightful ferocity, and the pace never slips from start to finish. I think the best word to use is ‘relentless’. Now I have been a bit under the weather today and slogging away at tidying up, so I was seriously in need of a jolly old head-blast. Well done guys, you have restored me to (almost) full working order. Six tracks of awesome mayhem spanning about 15 mins, perfect.
Fit to Work self describe as a “quasi-autonomous, non-governmental punk act based in Glasgow.”
Their recently released debut EP CD-ROM #7: “Dealing with anger in the workplace” deals with anger in the workplace as well as covering a range of often-political themes, with songs varying in tone from deadly serious to seriously silly. The six-track EP opens up with You deserve Better and it is a punch to the solar plexus with hardcore/grindcore vocals layered over some depth charge guitars and drums. The song veers into different directions but is held together with some seriously neck damaging guitars and rhythms.
Only The Reanimated Corpse Of Emma Goldman Can Save Us Now is a candidate for song title of the year as the band drive their hardcore noise fully into your skull. The third track Tell Your Doctor If… adds some whining vocals over some towering music in an Art Brut type of approach.
On A.S.B.O.A.R. Fit To Work go full on screamed vocals over pounding drums before the voice becomes more spoken and the package takes on a Future Of The Left sound albeit much heavier. The penultimate song, Autism Murder Memorial is just heavy with a pounding bass guitar and a Killing Joke guitar sound – loved this track!
The band close this very pleasing debut with The Ascension Of IDS and there is no let up whatsoever in pace, fury and power…in fact, this track just rocks. Fit To Work are aggressive in sound but there is a humorous side detectable throughout this excellent debut.
Pressing play on the debut EP from Glasgow-based punk act Fit to Work can feel a bit like pressing the detonator on a bomb – you know exactly what‘s about to happen, but there really isn’t much that can prepare you for the burst of pure energy you’re about to get hit by.
The four-piece is made up of musicians or performers who all grew up in Orkney. with three being members of heavy metal/thrash outﬁt Chicken Wing, who tore up venues in the county back in the mid-to-late late 2000s
They have been busy while they’ve been away – on guitar is Daniel Firth. who has gone on to record and tour world-wide with the band Cradle of Filth. Drummer lain Stewart has been busy playing and touring with several different outﬁts from Glasgow, including The Phantom Band. The band’s singer is poet and performer
Harry Josephine Giles, and taking up the bass duties is former Chicken Wing guitarist Duncan Harcus.
Let there be no doubt, their debut EP, Dealing with anger in the workplace, can be
considered an incredibly self-assured first effort by anyone’s standards, no doubt stemming from the combined experience and ability of the band members
The EP is a loud, energetic, raw and powerful mix of punk and thrash but it doesn’t fall foul of feeling inaccessibly complicated or abrasive, and the first go round with Anger should yield plenty of highlights for fans of post-hardcore, punk, thrash or grindcore.
The band are obviously capable of technical playing, and demonstrate it readily, but everything feels like it’s in the right place and nothing outstays its welcome. Sometimes some of the EP’s most satisfying moments are the simple ones. The first 30 seconds of the opening track, You Deserve Better, sets what looks to be a pretty clear mission statement for the EP, but at times the switches in styles can come as a surprise.
The drums, guitar and bass are all excellent here, and over the course of the EP each has stand-out moments — but a real shock is how good the vocals are. Harry Josephine Giles uses a variety of different styles on the EP, employing post-hardcore, death metal and yelp screams as well quickly spoken passages – the difference is subtle but very effective.
Overall, Dealing with anger in the workplace is a conﬁdent release that knows
exactly what it is. If their debut EP is any indication of the band’s live prowess, Fit to Work will be a must-see when they play at the Orkney Rock Festival on September 2.