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Review: 'REDGRASS'

-  Label: 'Ojud Records'
-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '4th May 2012'-  Catalogue No: 'Ojud002'

Our Rating:
"British Democracy And Other Myths" is a red raw wound of a collection. It's a proclamation, an affirmation of resistance, a stubborn bloody-minded, personalised howl that fits no ready-polished ideology. It's uncomfortable in every sense of the word, and it bloody well should be. It's like a Mumford and Sons' antimatter.

It offends every kind of carefully nuanced accommodation. It has no time whatever for "yes but if only you had …[paste in aesthetic/pragmatic/technical/philosophic quibble of your choice] I would like it".

In a word, punk.

It's playing and singing from the sheer desperation of expressing simple anger and simple loyalty about human basics. These are the resources we have, these are the songs: no commodification , no compromise, no sweetener, no additives.

REDGRASS comprise Dave Procter playing bouzouki, Dave Mays on banjo and guitar and Paul Whitaker on guitar and banjo. They each do a bit of singing. The six songs are in the tradition of the newly written songs that fired the socialist tendency of the folk revival of the 1960s with Ewan McCall and A.L. Lloyd.

"Assassination's Too Good" is a vile demonization of (I guess) the vile Margaret Thatcher. It could as well be about more viscerally red-handed leaders like Muammar al-Gaddafi, Charles Taylor, Slobodan Milošević or Bashar al-Assad.

"Where's daddy gone?" is the chorus, a lament for anyone dashed to ruin in stormy times in the song "The Old Goose".

"Old Grey Men" is about the stoic resignation of old working class men in Leeds. It's a determination that their upside-down smiles should be turned the right way round into pride for a working class heritage, despite the dishonour pissed over the Council Estates by Osborne and his cronies.

Almost if it was planned, "She Was Pissed" follows, and could be a metaphor about working class admiration for Thatcher. What I hear is woozy slide and unsteady singing celebrating the undignified struggle for human pleasure in the broken landscape of what passes for a good night out in a two minute fumble.

"Fetch the Doctor" sings about being sick at heart, sick of Lansley and sick of paperwork. It's a nursery rhyme for the future where street kids will sing "You buggered up the NHS so your rich chums get the fun" and have no clue at all of what they sing.

"The War Song" remembers 1914. Things don't change much do they? Lions and donkeys. People and arses.

You can listen, download, send some cash, or not. You're a grown up. Make your own mind up: it's the only one you've got.

Listen to Redgrass at Bandcamp
  author: Sam Saunders

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