Monday, 4 June 2018

Stiff Little Fingers - Go For It! (1981)

Kicking up a racket....


Released April 1981

Released in 1981 after the cult success of Inflammable Material and the more mainstream punk (if there was such a thing!) of Nobody's Heroes, this was as good as it got for Fingers.


1. Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae

2. Just Fade Away
3. Go For It
4. The Only One
5. Hits And Misses
6. Kicking Up A Racket
7. Safe As Houses
8. Gate 49
9. Silver Lining
10. Piccadilly Circus                                                    

They were now seen as punk/new wave and why, they were almost 'respectable", playing mid-size venues on larger tours as opposed to sweaty little dives. This album unfortunately showed a far more polished side to the angry young Northern Irish lads who barked out about suspect devices and the R.U.C. against a raucous buzzsaw guitar backing. There are still a few crowd-pleasing fist-punchers on here though, the vibrant Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae with its killer guitar riff and the hit single Just Fade Away and the professional-sounding but anthemic Hits And Misses and Piccadilly Circus (a sad tale about a friend of theirs who was attacked in London). The instrumental Go For It is a pumping number and was used effectively as the "when the lights go down" opener to their excellent live gigs and still is today.

The Only One and Safe As Houses are examples of Fingers' reggae/rock which they did quite well, but Kicking Up A Racket is throwaway and lazy and Henry Cluney's folky little ditty about an airport Gate 49 was hardly likely to get crowds pogoing. Silver Lining was a bit of a messy attempt to integrate a brass section. It is ok, but not the essence of SLF, to be honest. It all seemed to be getting a bit like "let's show we can diversify too, like The Clash" about it. I understand why they did it, though.

As an SLF fan who saw them live several times and enjoyed them immensely, while I liked this album at the time, I had a feeling, even then, that we may have seen the best of them. Unfortunately, my fears were proved right, really. They never released anything as good as their first three albums. Diehard fans of the band will make cases for the next album, Now Then... or the one following that, Flags And Emblems. Not for me. Sorry.

Below is a clip of Fingers performing Just Fade Away on Top Of The Pops in 1981.