Blah, blah, blah… UK punk decline… no good records out recently. Blah, blah blah. It’s something that’s easy to get stuck into for many – many of the disillusioned can’t connect with new records like they used to because – well – there’s a flood of easily accessible new music, and in an age of social media omnipotence┬áthe punks in the scene seem faster to judge and more cynical than ever. Bands with barely a whiff of mainstream recognition get labelled “dial-a-support” and “hype bands” in the blink of an eye, and it’s this that puts pressure on bands far too early when coupled with the need for obsessive self-marketing.

Despite the assertions of a few that it’s been a quiet year for UK punk, there have been some very excellent records this year, and the reason you haven’t seen a “Best Of 2012″ list on PT yet is that we want to squeeze every possible record in before the year is out. ‘Wide Eyed And Determined’ from the suitably hardworking Apostates completely justifies that holding off;

It sits at the more melodic end of the punk spectrum, and for a self-released album it sounds full and confident. That’s not to say it’s short of vitriol, though, and the record also has as much pace as it could ever need. The Apostates have put something excellent together here, and it’s a record that should see the band do very well coming into 2013.

US influences from bands like Make Do And Mend and The Menzingers creep in a little against the main backdrop of British Punk and Rock, and there’s a presence of folk-driven input that will please fans of bands like Apologies, I Have None and Frank Turner as well. If that description comes across as messy in writing, then it certainly doesn’t aurally.

The Apostates have plenty to be proud of in ‘Wide Eyed And Determined’, and if you’ve got space for one more record this year – make it this one.

TOM AYLOTT