It’s been a good year for lovers of scuzzy yet intelligent punk, first Idles and now this (shame they added the “The”, they could start a trend of single-name bands).
Idles have an earthier sound, Blinders’ opener channels The Shadows covering a Cossack dance, with a retro swampy guitar sound. The shouted vocals are not the crooning of Hank or Cliff, however. Idles started off repeating “goes and it goes and it goes”, Blinders repeat the trick with “gotta get through gotta get through”: if you’re a teenager, this sort of moshpit-destroying sound is going to be your Ramones or Nirvana moment, raw rock ‘n’ roll exploding through your speakers/headphones.
L’Etat C’est Moi (“the state, it is I”, probably erroneously attributed to Louis XIV) slows it down but adds a moshpit singalong, and there is more history with Et Tu and Brutus, consecutive tracks.
The rest of the album still has lots of energy but settles into your standard swampy/punk sound, with odd high spots: I Can’t Breathe is similarly retro to the opener and stands out, as does the slower, and Levellers-ish, Ballad Of Winston Smith. Even the more “routine” tracks are far from predictable: Hate Song speeds, to give the moshpit a reason for frenzy, Where No Man Comes opens with an arty disco beat and jagged guitars.
Reviews are largely meaningless, however: it’s visceral music that demands to be played loud, or seen live.
Lyrically, they seem to be making points about power and who controls it. As well as the history and George Orwell, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World gets a song title.
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