By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - British punk band The King Blues, who drew inspiration from anti-government demonstrations and were at the forefront of a political protest movement in pop music, have split, they said on their website.
Formed in 2004 and led by frontman Jonny "Itch" Fox, the Londoners tackled the hot issues of the day in their songs, most recently expressing public discontent at spending cuts and high unemployment rates under Britain's current centre-right coalition government.
"We are all immensely proud of our body of work," the band said in a statement.
"We will be releasing the last The King Blues album entitled 'Long Live The Struggle' as the final chapter. The album will be released in early July 2012.
"We simply feel we have taken things as far as they can go and it would be unfair on you if we were to go through the motions like so many other artists do. We all believe strongly in what The King Blues stands for."
One of their best-known tracks, "Does Anybody Care About Us?", came from their critically acclaimed 2011 album "Punk & Poetry".
In the video for the song, Fox angrily sings "Is anybody going to fight back?", a rallying call to listeners to stand up to injustices in British society.
In an expletive-ridden statement released in December, Fox targeted Prime Minister David Cameron and his privileged background, bankers who earned big bonuses despite the financial crisis and politicians involved in the expenses scandal.
"I know I ain't the only one either," he wrote.
"I look around and I see resistance on every level. Call us what you like, striking workers, protesting students, rioting kids, the 99 percent, we are who we are, a product of a broken Britain being torn apart."
Reviews of Punk & Poetry praised its topicality and tight, well-constructed tunes inspired by, among others, The Clash and The Specials.
"Speaking of music, it is this that provides The King Blues with their Trojan horse," Ian Winwood wrote in a review on the BBC's website.
"Even at its angriest, Punk & Poetry is pop music played hard, high energy rock'n'roll constructed magnificently and in a manner that makes this appealing to an audience comprised of more than one generation."
Commercially, The King Blues did not enjoy the same success, however, with Punk & Poetry, their most successful album in the British charts, peaking at No. 31 in April last year.
The band has undergone numerous personnel changes since its inception and was part of a growing international movement in music that fed off public anger and frustration at governments and the impact of their austerity measures.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)