Essex (UK) Hardcore group Understand formed in 1992 and in their initial run fitted in an EP, a promising debut Burning Bushes and Burning Bridges, lots of buzz, and an underground following. Their relationship with the previous label East/West dissipated and during ‘98 they had some tracks in the can and were looking for a new home but alas things fizzled out in before the end of the century
They rekindled things over twenty years later, and these tracks make up their new record Real Food At Last (Rise Records), which comes two years after the untimely passing of guitarist John Hannon. This album may have been gestating for twenty-five years, but the passage of time has done nothing to blunt its short, sharp and visceral appeal. The rumbling bass, thick guitars and raucous vocals of the title track kicks things off in appropriately rowdy fashion. The metallic stomp and grunge like stylings of ‘You Want The News… Well Here’s The Blues’ piques the interest, as does the heavy psychedelia and woozy solo of ‘Sentence’.
At just under thirty-two minutes this record whizzes by so multiple listens to help reveal its charms. The songs whizz by too, with some getting into a good groove then ending abruptly. Namely, the potent verses and explosive chorus of ‘I Can Get You In’ – which burns with the intensity of a firework and is all over in just north of two and a half minutes. The raucous ‘Skirt’, with its building power, shares this effervescent energy. The wailing riff and slow burning hook of ‘Sadie’ – which takes its time burrowing its way into your ears – is the catchiest thing here.
Real Food At Last is a step up from their debut, showcasing a growing maturity and expanding songcraft but with raw energy still at its centre. The long wait is worth it, this is a certainly fitting tribute to John Hannon.
Buy the album here:
7 / 10