Thursday February 22nd 2018

Broken Heroes – “Make Oi! Great Again”


Broken Heroes – “Make Oi! Great Again”


Broken Heroes is a band I’ve only seen play live once. They are an Oi! band from New Jersey and they are one of the best and truest Oi! bands from this part of the country. I saw them play, maybe five years back, but they left a great impression on me.

The other thing I remember about that show, was when they were packing up gear they, inadvertently, took a guitar from another band. In the hectic state of moving equipment I can see it happening, and they had to meet the other band halfway to return the guitar.

And I just found out they’ve been around since 1991! Which is older than me, I think? And what’s even better is they are not now playing “post-Oi” or “math Oi” or “grind Oi” but still playing the pure, true uncut stuff!

And though not as wild as the newer Oi bands I enjoy- “Hello, Rictus Grin and those whacked out bands on Vicious Mistress,”- this is quite enjoyable stuff to me, as it harkens back in sound and feel to the early punk sound mixed with the early rock’n’roll sound, too.

But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, while I say- the proof is inside my bottle of Vodka- so let’s take a sip or two or three and listen:

“When your worlds are over, we’ll still stand alone.” So starts “Built To Last” an Oi powered, hardcore growling, punk’n’rock’n’rollin’ number, busting at the seams with energy and emotion. It’s soon followed with a Chuck Berry/Johnny Thunders, rambling in like lick, resembling an old trolley train, going around the bend, and screeching along the third rail. Except in this case it’s pure pleasure, scraping the endorphins in your brain. “While the rest all fade away, we’ll still be kickin’ ass.” I can’t predict the future, I just know that they’re doing such- right now, during this song. This song is pure punk, pure rock’n’roll, and pure excitement and fun!

“Living each day like tomorrow’s guaranteed, not worried about the knife or how much you’ll fucking bleed… ’til it’s twisting in your back and you can’t fucking breathe, try running your mouth while you’re choking on your teeth.” Now, just going by the lyrics, I thought this might be a Crosby, Still & Nash or Jackson Browne cover but no- this is an original song called “Murder On My Mind.” And come to think of it, it has little in common with the Woodstock Nation. For me this is some more, hardcore fueled Oi with some more Johnny Thunders licks tossed upon us, like beautiful waves of bliss descending upon our ears from heaven.

“Beer Run” is a rollickin’, rockin’, rambunctious romp about weekend partying- barbecuing and drinking and “cranking up the stereo.” This song modulates in key and accelerates in propulsive, punk rock and awesome Oi fury!

“Ain’t No Good” is more a rock’n’roll song to me than punk or Oi. And that’s because it rips out of the starting gate like a classic Little Richard song and maybe, a classic Motorhead tune, as well. It’s like a cannonball shot out of a cannon, a toboggon going down a ski slope, backwards, or maybe a loser on a reckless drunk- either way, there’s some Lemmy like humor here. “When the dust is settled we’re still drinking and having fun, so baby come on home with me you know- I’m the one.” This song’s title is the opposite of the way I think of it, in fact, favorite track on the album.

“Good Times,” is another energetic Oi tune full of rock’n’roll energy and excitement. To me this song would be the perfect ending to an album. “So may the good times never end, for you and me my friend, may the beer ever flow, wherever we may go.” Whether heaven or hell, Beverly Hills or New Jersey- may the background be playing as a rousing, sing-a-long, emotional, wonderful tune such as this.

“Walk Tall,” lyrics go- “Hard times will come, good times they will go, your friends will depart, you’ll stand alone…So what do you do? Do you lay down and die?…Or do you stand proud and walk on your own?” While the music is great on this album a lot of the lyrics look to violence as a solution and I can’t condone that. But the lyrics of this song is my favorite and it’s a song of resilience and toughness. And believe me, toughness in your mind and heart is more valuable that toughness in your fists.

I don’t know much about this band, as I’ve said, once before, I’ve only seen them once. But I do know what my ears tell me and I do know that if you’re looking for Oi better than this than maybe you have to hop into your time capsule and head back to early eighties Britain way, perhaps you’ll find it there,

I have no access to that so I’ll just settle for some potent, powerful, emotional, expressive, true and tried, pure and propulsive Oi music right here.

Could this be the Oi album of the year? Right now they’ve won it.

But even if they don’t this album is the musical equivilent of a knife in your guts, minus the negative health consequences.

It hits you hard, with full force and power and changes how you feel inside.

A bit knocked for a loop but happier and stronger.


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