Street punk music is characterized by single-note guitar lines and short solos. Unlike similar genres, such as hardcore punk, street punk bands often consisted of two guitarists, one of which plays guitar melodies while not singing. Street punk also makes frequent use of communal vocals and sing–along choruses, an aspect adapted from the Oi! genre. Street punk lyrics commonly address topics including fighting, drinking, partying, inner-city turmoil or personal relationships. Street punk bands sometimes express political viewpoints, typically of a left-wing variety, although some street punks eschew politics altogether in favor of a more hedonistic, nihilistic outlook.
Punk veteran Felix Havoc said:
It was aggressive, yet had melody. As opposed to today's "melodic" punk it still had a lot of energy. It was honest. Hence the term "street punk." There is and was a feel that this was the kids music, from the streets, and was uncorrupted by "professionalism" or "musicianship." As opposed to the anarcho bands its message was more bleak and irreverent. The music was not a-political, just a less intellectual expression of political views of working class youth. The music was marketed as being of and by the working class. I suspect this was not universally the case. Still most middle and upper class kids cringe at frank discussions of violence as evidenced in a typical Blitz song. Early 80's UK punk was catchy as hell; it has sing-a-long choruses and hooky riffs.
UK 82 (also known as UK hardcore, second wave punk, real punk, or No Future punk) took the existing punk sound and added the incessant, heavy drumbeats and distorted guitar sound of Motörhead. The term UK 82 is taken from the title of a song by The Exploited. Cross-pollination existed between this era of British street punk and American hardcore punk.
The lyrics of UK 82 bands tended to be much darker and more violent than the lyrics of earlier punk bands. They tended to focus on the possibilities of a nuclear holocaust, and other apocalyptic themes, partially due to the military tension of the Cold War atmosphere. The other mainstay of the lyrics of the era was unemployment, and the policies of the Conservative Party government. Lyrics frequently denounced the Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in the same way that American hardcore punk bands addressed the Ronald Reagan administration.