There are no Jackals in Norfolk

….or are there? I picked up a tip from Deviated Instinct’s Facebook page recently and decided to investigate it.  They mentioned a band called Jackals who hail from their home town, Norwich, and whom I duly checked out.  D.I. are these days somewhat elder statesmen of the Norwich punk scene, and have by themselves inspired a ton of bands over the years.  So was their tip any good?

Let’s go back some years.  I’m from Suffolk, and if you know anything about East Anglia in general [you don’t? oh…..] then you may know that there has been a long established antipathy* between my home county and that of Norfolk, where Norwich lies.  If you translate this rivalry to the modern world, the most obvious manifestation is in football – few local derbies are as ferocious and hateful as Ipswich Town versus Norwich City.  But I have no such tribalism afoot in me.  And so it was that in about 1984, still at school, I would often take a weekend train up to Naarwich to visit my buddy Pete, who had just started studying [in the loosest possible sense] at the University of East Anglia, which lies just outside the city.  Pete was in a band by then, and I would often go to small, seedy gigs with him, as well as bigger ones – Killing Joke played a blinder at the UEA that year, and there was also quite a healthy scene generally with more mainstream ‘student’ bands such as Farmers Boys, Serious Drinking and the like in addition to the punk scene that D.I belonged to.

Soon, as the liking for beer took a hold on me, I played closer to home and became gradually absorbed into the Ipswich scene which, although rather cliquey, was at least close by and easy to get to.  But I’ve always retained a soft spot for Norwich – it’s a lovely place besides everything else – and being a University city it’s a bit more interesting than its southern neighbour.  Thus it was that I came to listen to Jackals. 

Jackals have released a 5 track tape on Youth Camp records, entitled ‘Survival Instincts‘.  A youngish band, they play a hard, heavy, dual vocal kind of punk which to be honest initially left me a bit lost for reference points.  I suppose D.I. themselves would be a good starting point, as Jackals have nailed [if you’ll pardon the pun] their late 80s sound, but they’ve brought it up to date and put a kind of Phil and Dean from Extreme Noise Terror dual vocal attack over the top.  Chucking a bit of downtuned sludge and some good old Swedish hardcore into the mix, this release is a showcase that I am beginning to like.  It too me a few listens to be honest, primarily because of the fact that it isn’t obviously from any particular style; but I rather admire Jackals for doing their own thing – let’s be honest, it never did Mark E Smith any harm.

Check this release out, it’s four tracks ranging from a few seconds to just over 4 minutes; these boys deserve a proper release and a wider audience.

*Footnote – The antipathy allegedly started around 906 AD after Suffolk was recorded in history books by the Saxons, but Norfolk was not until at least 1043 AD, prompting accusations of favouritism; and it was inflamed after the death of King Edmund at Hoxne, because the people of Debenham, in Suffolk allegedly confiscated a donkey belonging to Eric Bartrum of Harleston in Norfolk, allegedly ‘fer noo good reason’.  Source: the same as my cod assertions in the previous article.

**Footnote – you’d be really sad like me to pick up that the title of this piece is a pun on the title of the Ian Brown song, “There are no Lions in England”.   You may also be pleased to see the chap in the Viking helmet pointing at the crowd in the main band photo.


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