Reviewing Jah Wobble’s A VERY BRITISH COUP, featuring Keith Levene, Mark Stewart,
Andrew Weatherall & Youth (Released by Youth Sounds, March 29th 2019)
And so the opposition finds voice through this three version single;
A triple headed dog barking loudly at the gates of the Hell we’ve now made:
Jah Wobble’s protest, with Youth, Keith Levene and Mark Stewart,
And Andrew Weatherall, is a song sparked by fire and by the death
Of the dream, as it fades. With a swoop cloud of synth and a rising line,
Blessed and noble, the bitter attack soon takes over through the punk fed
Clamour and thrashing guitar; Levene, as forceful here as he was when PiL
Spat the challenge to confront and not swallow society’s harshest flavours
That have pushed us now all too far. Mark Stewart’s vocal reveals
The stained control forced upon us. It crests Jah Wobble’s tectonic bass rumble,
Which in its dextrous fault line is the sound of the earth we corrupt;
‘What they didn’t want us to know/Down in the sewers;
The City rats/Forbidden London/Secret Britain/Sordid, sentimental/
Sick Souvenirs..’ show how both voice and lyric in shattering sound
Bomb-blast trust. What we thought we knew has been warped.
What we treasured once has been tarnished. Everywhere, the unelected
Now govern as the politics we knew duly ends. Now only art shows the way,
With music like this, as its herald, daring the dark with stark signals
To show, in essence, what we all must do, as defence.
Brexit already burns and will scorch everyone passing through it.
The peoples’ unheard cry, bound by reason has been stifled and stewed
To singe blood. But now a song of unification is caught by this freshly seminal
Single, as Wobble and co. shake the thin earth and ice now beneath us,
To turn affronted scream to song flood. The bass is the speeding beat of the heart,
As the scrapes of guitar echo language; the sounds of frustration and rebellion too,
Shadow words. As Weatherall’s programming and Richard Dudanski’s drums induce change
That we must seize from those who are shaping an increasingly desperate future,
A supposedly lost anger tempests by denouncing through blame, the absurd.
No new musician has expressed this unique opposition. Stewart’s words
Are cave paintings that even now prophecise, the spectacular end of the known,
If we do not rise to repeal it, with this one song as statement,
Against all we have now, to despise. Each phrase powers us, as word and sound
Seek communion; ‘Stolen identities/ The occult technology of power/
The last secrets of the temple/Written on stars.’ Each image flags a new land
Framed and forged by resistance, that could oppose the confusions THEY offer,
And retrieve the sacred for those who ran scared, healing scars. A yearning violin
Holds this hope, carving the air as we listen, to soothe the bites and infection
Of Stewart’s sewer strewn ‘city rats’. The thrill of the music subsides the failing
Chambers above them, as beat and pulse are ignited when stained pavements
Shatter and the heart and the house are attacked.
‘If only you knew/A very British Coup,’ rings the chorus.
Over Wobble’s strut gathering bass-line and Levene’s blaze of guitar,
We’re informed of the chance we might have if we just overturned the slick walkers,
Whose boots on are faces, reflect through spat polish all of their politically skewed
Self regard. This is a song of protest as sharp as anything struck by either Dylan,
Or Lydon. As the acid rain breaks, it is chordal, as the Anti–Christ/Ana–Chist
Now descends. And so, these visceral sounds from the street,
That would make each connected heart appear classic, and each ear attuned to it,
Able to resist the offence to the opportunity we will lose if we give into persuasions
By the false who turn to us with insincere compromise. They wish us doomed.
They can’t care because they are not informed by the spirit that this song engenders,
With both fire and fury it would clear the actual smoke from our eyes,
To show that the heart as it breaks can lease with blood and rage, visceration;
A sparked call to rally, as in this interweaving of dub and punk ambience.
This song bemoans the fate THEY have chosen. It is a song educating all of those
………………………………………………………………………Who still court ignorance.
The radio edit refines, shaping the majestic sprawl into song form.
At half the length the grand landscape is artfully shaped to your street.
‘Follow the Bassline’, Stewart sings, right to the point of the problem,
And you will feel true change come to claim you as resist Parliament’s rhythm
And learn to march and dance proudly, signing the time as it taunts you
With both your own style and beat. ‘Destiny on the radio’, Stewart proclaims
As medium becomes message. If the point of song is to focus the sound
Of the soul; day ghosts rear. They haunt our actions at once, as removed
From life, their spiked anger is pierced by the breaths we are wasting;
And so their warnings are brought to our ear. The edit is a song-bomb, soul primed,
A concise appeal that delivers what we must feel and start singing with voice
And with heart, across day. The song’s Dogma mix drives us on, as Stewart states,
Through the bassline, which represents how we teeter and must learn to stride,
To seek change. Its grace shapes the sound that Youth and Weatherall now reorder,
Providing the soundtrack for the rise and return of our coup. Can we overthrow
Darkened skies and escape the chains that restrict us, and restore through this music
Some familiar form that feels new? The Dogma glitters and sparks, in and around
Rhythmic clatter. Jah Wobble’s insistence and Levene’s guitar now implore;
The wound can be healed if we overturn misdirection. Our own goals can be salvaged,
……………………………………………………………Once everyone here knows the score.
A line repeats through this song, and is as much of a hook as the bass-line.
It is a key like phrase that unlocks things and its clarity is profound.
In terms of the change we all face and the clear decline that is colours;
‘Police Control/ Even the devil has sold his soul…’ Truth as sound.
The cover art says it all, The Watchman’s blood smeared badge as the sun
Across flag fucked trenches, reveal the war that we’re fighting;
The relevance just astounds. The resonance, too, as this new song means more
Than we can even dare to imagine. Beware of what’s coming.
As those who can’t see it and are truly lost, won’t be found.
David Erdos 19/1/19