This politically motivated English trio united the left-wing skinhead movement with a volatile mix of punk and northern soul, aggression and belligerence. Originally formed in York as No Swastikas, they relocated to London where singer/guitarist and New Musical Express writer Chris Dean (b. c.1963) assumed the identity of X. Moore. The other original members were Martin Hewes (bass) and Nick King (drums). They were joined in the studio and onstage by a fluid brass section, the most permanent members of which were Lloyd Dwyer and Steve Nicol. After the strident debut, ‘Peasant Army’, on Leeds-based independent CNT Records in 1982, they secured a session for the John Peel BBC Radio 1 programme which would be repeated five times.
The follow-up, ‘Lean On Me’ was voted Single Of The Year by Sounds journalist Gary Bushell. Given a high media profile by dint of their exclusively political lyrics (they were all members of the Socialist Workers Party), interest from major record companies soon followed, leading to a contract with London Records. After personal disagreements, King was replaced by Paul Hookham (ex-English Subtitles; Lemons; Woodentops) on the eve of the band’s second major tour. By 1984 they had become vigorous supporters of the striking National Union of Miners, playing a host of benefits on their behalf, though ‘Keep On Keeping On’ and subsequent singles were no match for their earlier promise. The debut album, Neither Washington Nor Moscow, was impressive, but critics still cited the band as underachievers, a fate to which they condemned themselves when they broke up in 1986. Hewes returned to life as a motorcycle despatch rider.