Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material

Ira Robbins

By Ira Robbins

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Inflammable Material

Stiff Little Fingers

Punk's first sweep through war-torn Northern Ireland in the late '70s produced both apolitical buzz-pop (the wonderful Undertones) and rabble-rousing fury (Stiff Little Fingers). On their debut album, SLF — led by firebrand singer/guitarist Jake Burns, but with articulate agit-prop lyrics contributed by a local journalist — went straight for the establishment jugular, frantically demanding resistance and change in the stuttering, essential punk detonations "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster." Those taut live wires are as sharp and thrilling as anything else spewed up in the British Isles in 1979, and the rest of Inflammable Material — including "Wasted Life," a venomous music biz assault ("Rough Trade") and the tunefully romantic "Barbed Wire Love" — isn't far off that standard.