Its hard to believe that it’s over 40 years since Belfast upstarts Stiff Little Fingers broke out of the relative obscurity of the Northern Ireland punk rock scene with their debut album ‘Inflammable Material’.
Released through Rough Trade, and making a noise which reverberated through Belfast and the rest of the world, the record offered credible insight into the grim reality of life in Northern Ireland and tales of teenage boredom, sectarian violence and police oppression. Popular track ‘Alternative Ulster’ made particularly hard listening with an honest account of growing up in an environment of political turmoil, repression and war.
Though going on to develop a far-reaching and international career, the Fingers never moved far from pointed political messages which hung on to a style of punk rock that was designed to be played loud and with an intense physicality. It’s fair to say that lead singer Jake Burns is regarded in punk as having a voice that sings with a level of furiousity and anger perhaps matched only by punk icons Lyndon and Strummer.
Being responsible for some of the most original sounds in music, let alone punk rock, the Fingers have remained outspoken and happy to be, at times, a lone and continuous voice of protest during their 40 years. Remaining core with punk’s DIY theme, the band’s most recent album and concert filming have been funded through pledge music; both having reached their targets within 24 hours.
With a staunch fan base, and a guaranteed level of intensity, a Stiff Little Fingers show is essential viewing for anyone interested in either punk rock or themes of inclusivity, peace and the stupidity of war.