Leatherface is one of those bands that never gained the following that they deserved, but to those who know them, they are a big deal. The UK-based punk band combined the melodic sensibilities of Hüsker Dü with the hoarse bite of Motörhead. Unlike many punk bands of their time, Leatherface put a great emphasis on melody. Their songs are immediately catchy, with infectious guitar lines all held together with a pounding rhythm section. And while that is not necessarily unique to Leatherface, their vocalist Frankie Stubbs has a vocal rasp unlike any other (the most apt comparison being to Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead). It is not a harshness that feels forced or put on, like you might find in genres of extreme metal. Of all of the aspects of Leatherface’s music, it is Stubb’s vocals that can be something of an acquired taste. But to me, that is just part of Leatherface’s unique charm. Even if you cannot always make out exactly what Stubbs is singing, you can feel it. The emotive impact is always present.
Leatherface’s first album, Cherry Knowle was just remastered and released by Rad Girlfriend Records and Little Rocket Records, making the long out-of-print record available again! I have been listening to it a lot this past month, and think that the track “Cabbage Case” is my favorite on the album. The guitar riff has the listener hooked within the first few seconds. Another hallmark of Leatherface’s music is evocatively setting a scene with poetic lyricism, and that is on display here. “Cabbage Case” is about the perils of intravenous drug use, but it does not need to say it explicitly, you can practically feel it:
“Terraced slum filth dwellings fall, lead in air stunts our fall
Self inflicted self disgrace, sentenced to an armchair death in outer space
Inject me life, inject me anything at anytime
Cabbage case, squalid little being in an attic mess
And you will steal my fucking life to have a good time”
If you have even a passing interest in punk rock music, you need to give Leatherface a listen.
By Leatherface’s music here.