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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Crackdown

Sometimes it’s not the best music we hold dearest in our memory, but the sounds that had the greatest impact on our own personal journey.

There are probably better Sheffield albums than The Cabs’ The Crackdown, but few have as much raw energy and bloody-mindedness as this. Released as a single album with an optional 12-inch, I opted for the latter and was duly rewarded.
The tracks are pure industrial funk and post-punk at its best - part vocal, part instrumental with samples, haunting guitars and Stephen Mallinder’s unique voice nudging on the funkier tracks with staccato lyrics. The highlight of the 13 tracks, ‘Just Fascination’, sounds like Bauhaus if Juan Atkins had been brought into the studio for remix duties, whilst bonus track 'Diskono' is truly mesmerising, powerful and relentless. Mallinder’s vocals drift in and out menacingly over a live four-on-the-floor beat that would rock any dancefloor worth its salt.

'Theme from Doublevision' and 'Moscow' are incredibly haunting but beautiful pieces of cold ambience that sound incredibly fresh to this day, although the title track is more reflective of where Cabaret Voltaire were heading at the time.

For me, Richard H Kirk and Stephen Mallinder never truly got the recognition they deserved for the boundaries they pushed. This album may not be the best Sheffield LP of all time, but it had a profound effect on my music tastes as a 16-year-old. That alone makes it stand out for me, but their Western Works Studio was also at the same location that I now work.

Andrew Tattersall