THE PUKES describe themselves as a "ukulele anti-society for punks". However having seen them play live I can attest that this ever expanding gang of 20 (mostly) female musicians are much more friendly in the flesh.

Having started in early 2011 as a fun project to mix the consumption of a few pints with the playing of their favourite tunes, they soon found themselves in demand to play gigs. The masterstroke of playing in the street outside that years Rebellion festival brought them to a much wider audience and ultimately led to them being invited inside the Winter Gardens for 2012. Subsequently, they've gone on to share a stage with such punk stalwarts as UK Subs, Chelsea, Menace and Subhumans.

Their live set list is predominantly punk covers, but they decided that, for their first 4 track EP (on Damaged Goods records), they would mix an original number with three punk standards. To lend an expert hand they roped in Dick Crippen from Tenpole Tudor to produce their debut opus. Also, and perhaps in a tip of the hat to the old days, its on 7 inch vinyl! (fear not those too young to have anything to play it on, it also comes with a download option).

Self penned "WILL I LEARN" is written by the bands usual front lady Clara Wiseman. However, I rather hope the songs lyrics don't indicate the kind of antics she gets up to on a night out!

I'm gonna sink six pints of Stella,
Show my arse, snog someone else's fella,
Lose my bag, pick a fight,
Yeh! Yeh! Yeh! That's my kind of night.

Since the days of George Formby the ukulele has been rather underused in the world of popular music, but I have to say that in the context of fun, singalong, Oi!-inspired punk, it works a treat. In a way this songs echoes the advice given by parents, since time immemorial, to their offspring after another night of debauchery. I think its safe to say that THE PUKES (and me for that matter) are unlikely ever to learn!!


The second track is a nice cover of Cock Sparrer's "BECAUSE YOU'RE YOUNG". Interestingly the songs lyrics also hark back to the innocence of youth and the unshakeable confidence we all had at that age:

You're always sure, you're always right,
You see it all in black and white.

Although never really gaining the commercial success of some of the first wave of punk bands, Cock Sparrer are now held in such esteem they can easily headline punk festivals all over the World. This song is now a standard at Sparrer gigs, so makes a logical inclusion for the Pukes to pay homage to one of their major influences.


For me, one of the most unappreciated punk bands of all time was Menace. Admittedly only around briefly from 1976 to 1979, their output was largely criminally overlooked. Songs such as "Carry No Banners", "Last Years Youth" and "GLC" deserved a larger audience at the time, so it's nice to see the latter at least getting a ukulele workover on the EP.

For those of you too young to remember the Greater London Council (GLC)it was the administrative body in control of the Capital from 1965 to 1986. Irrespective of your political allegiances, I think the songs' refrain has applied to government, both at a local and national level, ever since:

You're full of shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

Finally, they finish with a less well known number "JET BOY, JET GIRL" by Elton Motello. It was quite controversial in its day, having a subject matter of a 15 year old boys sexual relationship with an older man, who ultimately rejects him for a girl. Whilst later given a wider audience when covered by the Damned, most people (of a certain age) will know the tune more so from being the basis for Plastic Bertrand's "Ca plane Pour Moi". At least it allows all members of the Pukes ensemble (both male and female) to bellow out "He gives me head"!


Read Bones' news of The Pukes here