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Leatherface - Profile

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 25 / 8 / 2015

Leatherface - Profile


Adrian Huggins reflects on 'Razor Blades And Aspirin: 1990-1993', a superb new box set from North East punk legends Leatherface, which compiles together three of their finest albums with B-Sides and rarities

Long before the Futureheads became really famous for performing someone else's songs, Sunderland was known for another band Kenickie which featured BBC music presenter Lauren Laverne. The North East's ‘other city’ has also produced one of the finest UK underground punk acts in the form of Leatherface, which was vastly more talented than both. Initially starting out in the late 1980s, Leatherface took up the torch of British punk which other bands had either burned their fingers on or pissed on and turned to smouldering ashes of what it used to be. They comprised over the years until their final break-up in 2012 of an ever evolving line-up including Frankie Stubbs on guitar and vocals, A. Laing on drums, Rob Turnbull on bass and guitarist Richard Eric Hammond, then other bassists Steven Charlton and Stuart Schooler, and managed to couple the straight up attitude and simplicity of the original first wave of punk with the more developed and accessible sound that filtered into it in latter years. Emerging around the time grunge was taking a stranglehold of the underground and also the time where many folk were trading sweaty rock and roll dives for motorways, fields, class As and all night beats, Leatherface from the outset really went against the grain. Released in boxset format in celebration of Record Store Day, and now reissued again, 'Razor Blades And Aspirin: 1990-1993' charts Leatherface’s three most important releases; ‘Fill Your Boots’ (1990), ‘Mush’ (1991)and ‘Minx’ (1993). The band's three seminal albums have been given a mild sprucing up and come complete with a generous helping of B-sides and EP tracks including a few worthy gems in the form of cover versions of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’, ‘Message in a Bottle’ and ‘Talkin’ Bout a Revolution’ (which is a worthy competitor to the original despite what you might think). The fact that this is a mere snippet of the band's brilliant body of work is a testament to them, and also disproves the theory that Leatherfaces greatest moment was their appearance on British Soap ‘Emmerdale’ in 1998. It is worth noting that these three releases pre-date American punks such as Green Day, Rancid and the Offspring who turned punk into a multi-million dollar commodity in the mid 1990s. Despite nestling slap bang in-between the two 'main' punk explosions. Leatherface are one of the best bands that came out of the genre. Rough in tone but without sounding too gritty to enjoy, they have enough of an ear for melody but large enough kahunas to not drop too far away from the sounds and feel that makes true punk music great. Frankie Stubbs' gravelly vocals give a sound to match their rough-edged name, which matches against the driving lead guitars from both Stubbs himself and Richie Hammond. This combination gives them that perfect balance of melody and grit, and they sound like AC/DC sped up and without the novelty stage props and double entendres. This collection of albums, along with the extensive liner notes and a fantastic array of bonus tracks, serves as perfect introduction to this band that have a hardcore following but also are one of the most neglected of the last thirty years.

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Leatherface - Profile

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Discography Part 2 (2002)
"Outstanding" compilation of live songs and studio recordings from long serving melodic hardcore group, Leatherface

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