Music From the Taiga: Day 4: Single Review: PensiOi!ners – From Bar to Bar

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Label: Independent

Release Date: 7 December 2021

Location: Moscow
Digital Price: 1 USD
Genre: Hardcore punk/Oi!

The Russian punk scene has a hell of a lot of great stuff in there. As Cave Dweller Music begins to explore Russian releases more in 2022, you’re sure to see a good number of them will be punk releases. Just recently in December we have a new release from Moscow band PensiOi!ners titled From Bar to Bar (translated to English – the proper name is Из Бара в бар), a hardcore punk entry in the Oi! subgenre that was particularly big in the 1970 and 1980s UK punk scene. From Bar to Bar is a shotgun blast of oldschool punk slamming directly into your face, and boy is it worth every cent of the $1 it costs. But before we discuss the track itself, let’s dive a bit into the history of Oi! music.

If you’re not familiar with Oi! music (with the exclamation mark), it began with classic Oi! bands like The Business, Cock Sparrer and Sham 69 in the 1970s as a reaction to the rise of more artistic and conceptual movements like post-punk and the more commercialised sound of punk that was becoming dominant. Oi! music therefore has a trademark stripped-down sound in punk music, stripped down to simple, catchy melodies, hard rock, chants, and singalong-friendly lyrics. A variety of well-known punk bands from different eras have ventured into the Oi! realm before. The UK Subs, Toy Dolls, Oi Polloi and The Exploited are all examples of bands that have visited and contributed to this oldschool sound before.

Owing to the idea of Oi! as a deliberate effort to return to the basics of the punk movement musically, Oi! bands often sought to achieve the same thing in the punk culture itself, attempting to bring together what had become disparate groups of punks, skinheads, and rebellious working-class people. Reviving the radical politics of early punk music combined with the rising conservatism of the 1980s UK unfortunately meant that a number of Oi! bands became absorbed into the far-right, leading to Oi! being seen as racist music for a long time.

In the end, that didn’t last.

The roots of Oi! were in simple, fun, working class punk rock, and that’s what ultimately led to it gaining momentum internationally, especially in the US and mainland Europe. That is where bands like Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, Lars & The Bastards and others all drew inspiration from and ventured into themselves in their early days, and if you listen to them even now the influence of that Oi! sound is still obvious sometimes.

With this track From Bar to Bar, PensiOi!ners is a perfect example of how Oi! music has been strong enough to spread to Russia. They are a great example of Russians serving as the standard-bearers of what we think of as a typically British or American sound, truly making it their own while retaining what we all love about Oi! music. They do an absolutely great job maintaining that back-to-basics sound with a simple, fun melody, although the guitars get even heavier at the end of the song, finishing with a great little riffing crescendo.

From Bar to Bar really nails that sound that makes you want to get into the moshpit and start slamming with those toe-tapping drums and chants. There’s also that brilliant singalong quality that Oi! music really excels at, and if I could speak Russian my neighbors would surely be disturbed by the sound of a strange man shouting catchy tunes in Russian.

In any case, this is a banger of a track with an oldschool genre sound you don’t hear very often these days. At only a dollar, you’ll get a hell of a lot more than your money’s worth out of this one.

I hope you enjoy From Bar to Bar.

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