Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life review – no-holds-barred social commentary | Punk


Bob Vylan’s second album doubles down on their no-holds-barred social commentary, taking aim at not-so-Great Britain and plotting the gulf between wealth-hoarding leaders and skint citizens doing what they can to get by. Amid energy crises and fat-cat tax dissent, their message couldn’t be timelier. Wicked & Bad chimes with similar horns to Stormzy’s Big Michael but quickly transforms into an irresistible mosh pit-starter, thick with sledgehammer sloganeering.

Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Live album cover art
Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life album cover art

The provocations of Take That are even more exciting: hauling Churchill statues into the sea, wiping backsides with St George’s flags, bemoaning a government that is “killing off kids with £2 chicken and chips”. The latter line is cleverly reheated on Health Is Wealth, an informative reggae-rap that would probably get Jamie Oliver’s approval. Compared to the rest of the album, it’s borderline cheerful, a much-needed pause for breath.

For all their lyrical fury, the production sometimes begs to be richer, to really make your speakers shake as much as their words threaten to breach the peace. The drill of Must Be More strikes a little too bluntly, while Turn Off the Radio shrouds killer lines about racial stereotypes and musical cliches in an ironically dull nu-metal chorus.

These criticisms won’t fuss them: as Pretty Songs makes clear, their punk is designed to ruffle feathers, not appease the masses. If you’re willing to meet Bob Vylan on their rough-and-ready terms, The Price of Life offers a decent return on investment.

Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life is released on Ghost Theatre on 22 April

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