Punk-rock militants return with watertight new album.
Ian Winwood 2011-04-07
The American cultural commentator Greil Marcus once observed that "to make true political music you have to say things that decent people don’t want to hear". If this is indeed the case, then Punk & Poetry, the third album from London’s young and restless The King Blues, aces this test with Mensa-like ease. Whether it is the assertion that "this is class war" on We Are F***ing Angry, or the observation that "your granddad didn’t vote for fascists, he shot them" on Shooting Fascists, this is a band expert in saying things that are both below the salt and beyond the pale.
Time has rendered the work of a band such as The Clash (about whom there exists an entire cottage industry of cosy nostalgia) and even the Dead Kennedys as being acceptable and relatively toothless. If nothing else, the release of Punk & Poetry provides the listener with music and sentiment that frames its opposition to things that are happening both here and now. Frontman Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox’s mocking of "the very idea that we’re in this together" – David Cameron’s pat summation of the supposed commonality of his government’s cuts – couldn’t be much hotter off the press were it to provide the score for the background music to Ed Balls’ response to last month’s budget.
Speaking of music, it is this that provides The King Blues with their Trojan horse. Even at its angriest, Punk & Poetry is pop music played hard, high energy rock’n’roll constructed magnificently and in a manner that makes this appealing to an audience comprised of more than one generation. Those who cheered as protestors smashed the original windows of the beautiful building of the Supreme Court in December 2010 will find much to like here. But just as importantly, those who winced at such a sight will not be put off The King Blues by stern and outré sentiments, so long as they come expressed in music that is as poised and as palatable as this.