So I was having a chat with my pal Golnar yesterday, and we were talking about the lyrical content dished out by most current bands (to be fair, our conversation took place via text message, while I was at work and she was in class...how very adult of us both). What has happened, we both wondered, to the days when it seemed every punk band was political and/or confrontational...or at least thought provoking? What happened to a time when we read lyric sheets and learned something about the world, or maybe we were just inspired to learn, but it made us think. Maybe those days are gone...maybe the internet makes punk politics redundant...maybe we are just older and more worldly now and if bands were to sing about the long term effects of colonial oppression in Africa we would both just chuckle and say "yeah, I read that in the Times six weeks ago, young punk...get with it!" But who is singing about that? Who is yelling about something other than their scene? Who is screaming about something more abstract than war - which I think the punks have long since established is a blemish on the reputational face of humankind? I was thinking about this conversation, which took place with thumbs instead of mouths, while I was trying to choose a tape to rip when I got home from work. I dug out a UK box that's been buried for a while since there's some tape in it I'm supposed to send to some dude and I came across this:
And I thought about punks and politics and how much the punks in the UK seemed to have the shit dialed in....a decade after punk started to rumble, it had truly evolved into a community of activists and radicals genuinely hoping to evoke change, both social and political. Fortunately for our modern ears, in many cases they also made excellent music. The irony in this post is that the lyric sheet heralded in the insert of this most excellent STATEMENT rehearsal tape, their first release, is nowhere to be found. No lyrics, no song titles, no subject matter, nothing but a notice that the cassette should be of the highest quality (it is) and that the package should include a lyrics sheet....oops. But the point is still valid - a healthy percentage of the records I buy today don't even have the promise of printed lyrics, much less actual lyric sheets, and many of the ones that do are full of words lacking ideas that required anything approaching originality or thought. I am as guilty as any...I just miss feeling like it mattered, even if those feelings were foolish.
These songs were recorded to four track, they are awesome, and they fall somewhere in between UK anarcho and mid tempo post punk...there's one part that bizarrely reminded me of EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING and inspired me to pull out a particularly excellent tape for tomorrow.