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The Terror Of Modern Life Julian Marszalek , May 24th, 2013 12:27

Such is the prolific nature of John Robb – that’ll be journalist, writer, biographer, talking head and broadcaster amongst his many guises – that it’s easy to forget that he’s also a musician. Not that he’s been slouching, of course. The reunion of Blackpool Peel faves The Membranes has seen him stretch his time and efforts into seemingly more hours and minutes than there are in the day but it’s here, with Goldblade’s most destructive detonation to date, that he and his crepe-soled compatriots burn with a righteous intensity that’s not been seen before.

Which is as it should be. As a veteran of several decades standing he’s been there at the heart of any number of seismic cultural shifts from punk through to Madchester, grunge and beyond to peer in, grasp what’s at stake and report back. Here the same principles apply but the reportage comes in the form of 13 aural hand grenades that are lobbed with the hope of reducing cultural and political apathy to so much smouldering rubble.

In the five years since Goldblade’s last release, 2008’s Mutiny, the Con/Dem coalition government has launched an 80s revival that none of us who were there the first time around wanted repeated. This goes some way to explaining why this is the band’s most ferocious, angry and politically direct album while shaming certain quarters of younger generations who’ve chosen to bury their heads in the sand. Not that Goldblade have sacrificed their music to make their point. If anything, this is their strongest collection yet with an explosion in sound that serves to underline the rage that beats at this album’s heart.

Opener ‘This Is War’ is a statement of intent that’s coloured by some of the filthiest bass guitar sounds to have been aimed at the gut before burning with a magnesium strip intensity as guitars and drums coalesce into a blinding force. Elsewhere, the band’s intentions are laid bare on ‘Sick/Tired’ as “Eton rifles now run this land/Slash and burn with their well-clipped hands” while the sarcastically titled and culturally taunting ‘We’re All In This Together’ sneers “The ghosts of Merrie England sing out of tune/I don’t hear no soundtrack/the musicians left the room.”

But there’s more here than mere bombast as the band turns its attention to spacious dub territory on ‘Serious Business’ that, while betraying its obvious influences, is delivered with enough sincerity to overcome any doubts. A musical punch-up from start to finish, Goldblade choose their targets well as one blow is delivered after another. You might want to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

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