Way back in 2015 when influential Cardiff based punk rockers No Choice decided to call it a day, I was the person the band’s frontman Gagz decided to share the news with first. I was co-running and writing for Uber Rock back then and I’d been raving about the band’s 2012 released third album ‘Thru It’ to anyone and everyone who would listen to me, and checking up with Gagz to find out how that record’s follow up was shaping up, it came as a real shock to not only find that band didn’t feel like they were in a position to write album number four, but also, not have the energy to once again enter into the whole write, record and gig process all over again. Yeah, they had some basic ideas worked up, but the motivation seemingly just wasn’t there anymore, and to hear someone as passionate about his music as Gagz admit that it was probably best to draw a line under things as they stood was a very sad day indeed.

Fast forward eight years then, and with the UK seemingly having gone to hell in a handcart and back again six hundred and sixty-six times over (and with possibly even more shit to follow), it’s feels positively cathartic to finally have the fourth No Choice album blasting out of my stereo, and ‘And Still Some Cannot See’ sounds every bit as pissed off as I’d hoped it would. Post Covid, it’s a ten-track record that whilst dealing with the UK Government’s more than obvious shortcomings also touches on such subject matters as addiction, narcissism, eugenics, racism, greed, and failure…. and that pretty much sets the tone for what to expect, the guys having toughened up the No Choice sound especially for 2023. Then when Gagz recently explained that this record is also a heartfelt tribute to his sadly departed and dear friend Mr Gared O’Donnell from Planes Mistaken For Stars the “go for the throat” approach suddenly makes even more sense.

Returning with Gagz for this much tougher, more abrasive sounding record are guitarist Mowgli and drummer Lewis, whilst picking up bass duties this time around is Kaney. Beginning the recording process at Stompbox Studios in Cardiff towards the back end of 2022 with producer (and Bastard Son guitarist) Todd Campbell, opener ‘Sold City’ catapults the listener straight into that moshpit in your mind, thanks to Mowgli’s ferocious six string riffing and Gagz trademark barbed wire vocals and clocking in at just 1 minute and forty-four seconds it pretty much sets out the blueprint for what is about to follow.

Highlights are plentiful within the grooves of ‘And Still Some Cannot See’ and amongst them are ‘Sites And Sounds’, a thundering tirade against toxic masculinity and a tune which whilst not having what you might call “a conventional chorus” still manages to get stuck in your head, and then there’s the hugely impressive ‘Icons’, a tune I first heard over a year ago at a low key support slot No Choice played at a local pub and instantly recognisable again here. Elsewhere ‘The Snakes Took Out Ladders’ is not only a great song title but also a punchy just shy of two minute anthem that would have been a prime candidate for a single back in the day, and then there’s the band’s very own ‘Lust For Life’ in album closer ‘More Fool The Man’.

I’m not going to guide you track by track through ‘And Still Some Cannot See’ though because it’s a record that deserves everyone discover it for themselves, it’s one of those punk rock records that operates on many different levels, with each one designed to make you scream your head off, and I have to say that in ‘Warrior’ the band may very well have written their best tune yet.

‘And Still Some Cannot See’ is available right now on pink vinyl and download from Weird Beard Records (simply follow the link below to get your hands on one) or alternatively you’ll find copies in Spillers Records Cardiff and Kriminal Records Newport and hopefully via Pig at this weekend’s Slugfest at Abertillery Park, and if all that fails you can also email Gagz at gagzrox1963@gmail.com for a copy or if you are interested in putting a live No Choice show on anytime soon this is also the best way of getting in touch with the guys.

It’s great to have No Choice back, it really is, they are an essential voice of conscience within the UK punk rock scene. Hear them roar and relish every second of it!


Author: Johnny Hayward