Yes, in May the London 3-piece (Consisting of vocalist and programmer David B, guitarist JJ and bassist Paul “Buzzsaw” McCrudden) dropped the single “Welcome To The Black Bloc” and it was an entertaining dose of up-tempo synth-rock, rich in social commentary and the ongoing issues with equality and acceptance, and it made for an encouraging listen. This Summer they followed it up with the brand-new album “#Resist” and I couldn’t resist giving it a listen any longer. I mean, technically, what actually happened was I forgot it had come out, but that doesn’t sound as good now, does it? Anyway, let’s check it out...
The album opens up with “The Holy Trinity” and it’s a primarily slower, methodical start...granted it’s atmospheric in its own chilling way, combining cold electronic elements with crunching, sporadic riffs. A song of corruption from the top, mocking both church and state through the trinity of greed, power and war, highlighting societal and class disparity, and it sets the tone for the album fairly early on. The political tones run throughout this record pretty clearly as proven with early highlight “Divided States Of America”, which again pitches the idea of the lower, working classes, clueless as to what actually goes on within office and government...trusting their politicians and leaders, but maybe not truly realising what they’re even voting for as they are fed only what they want to hear. It’s delivered with an appropriately edgier, up-beat sound, incorporating subtle punk aesthetics while retaining the electronic aspects and it makes for an enjoyable listen.
There are a couple of highlights to point out over the course of the eleven tracks to be fair...we’ve already pointed out the initial single “Welcome To The Black Bloc”, but elsewhere we have the likes of “Fifteen Minutes”, which while enjoyable is a bit of a cliché at this point creatively. It takes a stab at commercialism and blasts plastic pop-stars who have everything written for them, instant fame and celebrity status without working near half as hard as independent, or, underground artists. Like I said its cliché at this point but it’s encouraging to see the passion still there from bands such as the Astronauts. The relevance and popularity of these pop-stars is usually temporary, and this track generally highlights the flaws in the music industry machine that churns them out.
My personal favourite would have to be “Post Truth World”, which utilises all of the same musical ingredients; dark, garage rock and electronica, but here we take a slightly more retro approach thanks to some early synth, post-punk elements and It's a nice little throwback. The simplicity works in its favour here, getting the most out of the basic hooks and instrumentation, it’s just a no-nonsense piece of proto-goth and it works. Elsewhere, “#Resist” mostly follows a similar formula and pattern squeezing every last drop out of all the aforementioned styles and influences. It’s a solid album from start to finish, but apart from the tracks stated, little else truly stands out. Instrumentally fine, they’ll easily appeal to fans of the likes of PITCHSHIFTER and early, experimental post-punk / dark-wave artists, but vocally on times a little one-dimensional. Socio-politically astute alternative rock soaked in liberalism, common sense and equality, which is fitting really, given how 2020 is unfolding so far...