Mick Jones and Tony James met in the mid-seventies as teenage fans of Mott The Hoople. After a brief spell as London S.S – hey, we were all young once – they went on to form The Clash and Generation X respectively. Thirty years, and a mighty long way down rock’n’roll later, they’ve reunited, still grooving on the same ideas and fired up by the download revolution, itself an update of punk’s DIY ethic.
Understandably, they’ve a lot to get off their chests. Over twelve tracks, we get subjects ranging from global terrorism (“The Magic Suitcase”) to the war in Iraq (“Oil Well”) to the human condition (“Why Do Men Fight?”) all delivered in Jones’ unmistakeable adenoidal twang. It’s a disarming mix. The Kinks-esque riff-rock “The Whole Truth” and “What The Fuck” could be gonzo out-takes from The Clash, whilst a rip-roaring “Caesar’s Palace” updates “Lost In The Supermarket” to a world where consumerism has run wild.
Age has clearly brought wisdom, but Jones’n’ James also understand no one needs a lecture; far more satisfying to be mischief-making pranksters than finger-wagging polemicists. Accordingly, “The National Anthem” is a fluid, funky plea for unity (“I believe in houses, safety, free power”) whilst “Really The Blues” alludes darkly to a wasted talent “blowing a fuse”.
Not that Jones ever dodges the issue. “So it’s red tops versus cokeheads in a cultural civil war/ At least I know what I’m fighting for” he hollers in “War On Culture”, a clear two-fingers to the the scandal-sheets who plagued his time producing Babyshambles‘ Down In Albion. That said, The Last Post isn’t without it’s frailities. It’s too long , while songs like “Oil Well” lack the structure to match the weight of its ideas. However, for sheer cranked-up joie de vivre, it outstrips bands half their age.
Q&A: MICK JONES
UNCUT: Why The Last Post?
JONES: “It’s about being the band being the last stand for culture, and standing up against the onslaught of mediocrity. But it could also mean the last email in your inbox”
Did being a new band give you more freedom?
Definitely. We tried to ignore the legacy (laughs). There’s no expectations. We’re not doing anyone down, or make a point, we’re trying to move things forward in a positive way. It’s an honest thing.
It’s a very forthright record…
The great thing about being in a band is being able to say what you think. We’ve been bashed down by society to behave ourselves, but the truth is everyone’s life is a bit chaotic. A realistic representation of life, for a lot of us, is something like Shameless. You try to get what happiness you can in snatched moments. And the rest is struggle.”