Shipping for this album starts October 7th 2022!
New Release from this legendary Belgian Post-punk band on Track&Traces, a sisterlabel of Starman Records. 1 side early 80’s archive and live material, 1 side new material.
The band is touring again – sharp as a razorblade- and play support to The Stranglers op 28/9/22 in Het Depot , Leuven.
Whenever people talk about punk, it's usually about London or New York and about legendary bands that played in venues like the Roxy or CBGB's, using borrowed instruments on a worn-out P.A. to show 100 or 200 people that they hadn't actually rehearsed that much yet.
Hundreds of metal and crust bands would simply pick something out of a compendium of diseases with repulsive symptoms, but in 1979, four young punks in Leuven (Belgium) opted for efficiency. By simply calling themselves The Sovjets, all good citizens would automatically be annoyed by them, as if they were dealing with a fifth column that tried to disturb the social structures from within.
Clearly influenced by British bands of the time, The Sovjets tried to find their own style and write their own songs. Even then, underground bands had a hard time finding gigs, especially since most establishments wanted to keep the punk audience out. There were opportunities to play gigs, sometimes as a support act for a better-known name and sometimes in those lonely pubs that embraced the counterculture, such as Arno'z in Leuven. However, this did not stop the foursome from developing further musically. In 1982, first guitarist Jan left the band and new guitarist Leon took over. Because the world wasn't standing still, at that time the primitive punk of the first years evolved into what some called post-punk and the rest simply knew as new wave, a term that now, more than 40 years later, is still used by nostalgics who refuse to accept that it isn't all that new any more. The band changed their name to Sovjet War.
It wasn't just concerts that were difficult to find. For every TC Matic, Red Zebra or The Scabs, there were dozens of similar bands that never found a label, were never played on the radio and weren't interviewed for a weekly magazine. The fact that Sovjet War was luckier than many was due to the fact that they lived in Leuven, a city which was then flooded with young musicians of all sorts.
The band had already recorded a cassette called 'Bootleg' on their own and sold hundreds of copies at concerts, but the Anything But label saw the bigger picture and put one of their songs 'The Nuthouse' on his compilation 'No Big Business 2', a record that was initially successful and is now a collector's item. In the same Cleo Studio 'Just a story' was recorded during the same sessions, a song that finally saw the light of day on the compilation 'Koude Golven' during the reissue craze of the beginning of the 21st century. In 1982, a second recording session resulted in the single 'It became a problem/Guns for fun' on the same Anything But label and two other then unreleased songs, which you'll now finally find on this LP.
Early in 1983, guitarist Leon left and the other three band members could no longer motivate themselves to continue. It was just as much about the frustrating realisation that the general public kept choosing hit parade fodder made of unrecycled plastic that was built more on the PR campaigns of shrewd managers than on musical content. That year, Sovjet War went into a long hibernation, not thinking they would ever wake up.
That resuscitation took no less than 36 years, as it was only in 2019 that the bloodstream in the dead Sovjet War began to bubble up again. This had to become a band with form and content, with new songs, with relevant lyrics and with a live act that would convince more people than just those few friends who wouldn't dare to stay away. The three remaining original members, Bergy, Tirre and Zip, were joined by new guitarist Koen.
On 14 March 2020, less than 24 hours before the third concert with the new line-up, Belgium went into lockdown (Covid, oh yes) and the music sector was pushed aside by the battle between the arguments of scientific research and the anger over cancelled holiday plans.
With no possibilities to play live, the band started to look for new songs. The result was a thoroughly reworked setlist, full of songs that were just waiting to be officially released. As soon as the live circuit was given some breathing space again in the autumn of 2021, concerts finally followed. The time had come for a record, but this obviously requires some practical preparations and in that regard the help of a label is always convenient.
It became Tracks&Traces, a label founded by veteran Roland Beelen specifically for releases by artists who at the same time have solid roots in the past and enough creativity to produce new material in the present. The result is an overview of what Sovjet War is now on the “new side” and of what The Sovjets used to be on the “old side.
One sometimes hear people say that nobody knows what the future will bring. Forget that. Sovjet War will continue to exist, to perform and to release new songs until they drop. When that will be, nobody knows indeed, but chances are that they will survive you all.
With a Strangler ... That means something!