“This Machine Kills Fascists” was a sticker that Woody Guthrie had on his guitar at some point in his career; he meant songs can fight bad ideas.
The band This Machine Kills Fascists take this one step further: opening song Kill The Fascists suggests taking more direct action, though with its upbeat tone (lots of brass, played — like most of the album — at joyous speed), it is a step removed from an actual call to arms.
The song as much laments people turning on each other, although its title is a solution to deal with those to blame: “Turning on each other like animals / Beating up people like cannibals / What a story state we’re in / There’s something we can do …”
Later on, Punch A Nazi In The Face is possibly about white nationalist Richard Spencer, famously punched in the face during an interview, rather than just a random plea for violence.
Liberal Lefty sums it all up with the lyric “I’m a liberal lefty Guardian-reading muesli-eating hippy / Not a Tory sexist racist homophobic bald (?) Ukipeee” the latter word elongated and delivered in a falsetto. The narrator is also a member of the Green Party (“They love us down in Brighton / But not Yarmouth or in Thanet”).
There are songs about other than politics. I’m So Bad is a love song of sorts, Fake News and the entertaining Facebook Meltdown are about two unfortunate aspects of modern life while I Smoke Da Ganja is what it says.
Musically, it’s played at breakneck speed, with high levels of musicianship, which stop it from being a po-faced political diatribe; while full-on fascists might not like it, a Daily Mail reader might overlook some of the politics just because it’s good fun, like US politicians missing the point of Springsteen’s Born In The USA.
The basic sound is punk / gypsy / brass, though I Smoke Da Ganja is reggae, and there are some odd moments of country.
If you’re a liberal lefty Guardian-reading member of The Green Party (which, rather laughably, describes this reviewer down to a T, it’s only missing the home-made kitchen spray and hummus) you’ll find this all very entertaining.
Folk poet Beans on Toast treads a similar path to This Machine Kills Fascists but more thoughtfully; while the latter suggest direct action via party music, Beans is the older bloke offering a more nuanced commentary while being more baffled about the state of the world. Beans’ music is more melodic, presumably so when he tours he can play it solo on an acoustic guitar.
World Gone Crazy is a commentary on the modern world, heading for “The Inevitable Train Wreck”, not just political but climate change and deforestation. England I Love You opens with flute playing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” and is “a tale of dirty money” as an unelected leader moves into No who 10, and how we’re “going it alone as a divided nation”, “a small fish in a big pond with delusions of grandeur.”
While This Machine rant “The world is full of idiots / and all the morons swallow it”, Beans on Toast is more nuanced, “He who owns the data owns the world” over gentle guitar and drums, and “Be careful who you hate / And remember someone else might be benefitting from it”.
Elsewhere the songs are about his child (the main topic of his last album), the rise of robots, logic bombs and inequality, even the most mundane topic (logic bombs attacking computers) getting harmonies.
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