Leatherface - 'Little White God'
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Leatherface - Little White God 7" (RUG16/Domino, 1994)
A1 - 'Little White God'
B2 - 'I Gotta Right'
B3 - 'Meaning'
& from Leatherface - Win Some, Lose Some 7" (DUMP018/Rugger Bugger Discs, 1994)
04 - 'Discipline' (live)
05 - 'Colorado Joe/Leningrad Vlad' (live)
I found this via an mp3 blog a week or so ago, but I just listened to it yesterday. The five tracks appear to be from two different 7" releases, albeit consecutive ones. In any case, 'Little White God' is one of the indescribably superb Leatherface's best songs (the opening track from The Last album, previous post here), while a couple of prime-era Leatherface b-sides and a pair of early live tracks make for a nice collection.
I've read 'Little White God' described as 'reggae-influenced', which makes a certain amount of sense from the song's bouncy nature; plus, ever since the Clash or the Ruts, British punk has often absorbed strong elements of its companion genre. It's somewhat akin, in a hardcore setting, to the dub reggae influence on Fugazi's Repeater, which was released around the same time as Leatherface reached their early-90s prime.
Aside from that, 'Little White God' is an outstanding post-hardcore song about drugs and personal choices/addictions. Leatherface lyrics always have a certain ambiguity about them, in the combination of apparent positives and negatives, or ironic and (apparently) sincere statements. I'm never sure exactly what they're saying, but I understand just enough for them to make an impact.
Further impact comes from the excellent cover artwork, a masterpiece in the technological-industrial blazing punk post-hardcore meme. Though I'm not quite sure why someone would be welding a razor blade - if that what's it is - it sure looks fantastic. Added to that, as I just realised today, is the strength of the block-lettered 'Leatherface' name - in red or black on the other albums - with its dropped shadows and almost-typical font (look at the R) which is just the right side of subtle and artistic.
Of the B-sides, 'I Gotta Right' is an enthusiastic fast-loud rock'n'roll hardcore type of song, with prominent, riffing guitar work; while 'Meaning' is the slower, more melodic type of post-hardcore typical of the Minx album - where Leatherface lost some of the cathartic immediacy of their masterpiece, Mush, but mostly made up for it with less obvious, almost balladic pathos. The two live tracks - flip-side to the 7" release of 'Win Some, Lose Some' and 'Ba Ba Ba Ba Boo' - take several steps further back, right to Leatherface's first album, 1989's Cherry Knowle which was much more straightforwardly hardcore-like than anything else the band did after.
Sonically and lyrically, the authority-critical 'Discipline' and the obviously cold-war-era 'Colorado Joe/Leningrad Vlad' ("USSR, USA, they're so gay" - I think using the word in an ironic twist on the 'happy' meaning rather than simplified homophobia) are the link between 80s hardcore punk and its progression, in the Leatherface sound, into 90s post-hardcore - quite outside of Dischord Records and the post-Revolution Summer group of bands, although there is a Leatherface/Jawbox live split.
As it happened, Leatherface moved - largely via Mush - from being purely known in the UK scene to relatively wide recognition in the US, and joining the Avail/Hot Water Music/J Church group of alternately gruff and poppy post-hardcore bands - and eventually leading to the sublime Leatherface/Hot Water Music BYO split series album (posted here) that marked the return of Leatherface after the Last breakup.