On DAYDREAM DYSTOPIA, the new album by Radical Dance Faction (Youth Sounds,2018)
With its punk fired scrowl and ska driven tremours
Radical Dance Faction skitter over the failing cracks of known ground.
They seek a new future formed by their founding father Chris Bowsher,
Whose fights through class admit fervour to these urgently phrased workman’s
Sound. Daydream Dystopia shows the mire we have allowed to grow over,
Our heads for the rolling are for the first time in danger of the axe wealding elite
We despise. And so the album begins with a call to arms and fresh faces
As the ‘restless sea’ moving to us is seen and challenged in the song
Old Man’s Eyes. Steve Cruickshank’s drums swing, as Dan Foster’s bass rides
Beside him. Murph on guitar apes the Wailers and Marley’s sun struck chords,
As Bowsher holds forth, assisted by Karen Rickett on vocals, with brass from
Alex Gordon, Matt Dowse and former ‘Bird-Gale’, Nick Turner,
The Four Horseman who threaten are faced off in music by this new parade
Of Song Lords. Bowsher’s lyrics proclaim ‘that light is for shadow making/
The day is the rest before darkness happens in the end ’ and so in this dreaming,
Trapped as we are, we seek sense; ‘Run a line along a tune that no
Hit maker would think to think of, like Pinesadaway people
pay plentiful recompense.’ The lyrics astound. Poetry caked by instinct.
The satisfactions are legion we learn to see and feel through these eyes.
As the ceiling holds ‘the dancing shadows of angels’, We see society’s problem,
With ‘two cultures clashing in for the big shine.’ Its a testimony for the stars
But from the street and blown buildings. It is a word burst of action, and time,
In its weeping through the old man’s lashed feeling and his jaundiced rallying cry.
Feel Dread dares the dark with all of its furied effort.
As the ‘troop men move mountain..each way from crevice to pass’
We see what music has lost; that refined sense of protest,
That producer Youth with his consorts Gaudi and Jamie Grashion,
In their dub display make their task.The song has a strut, a reggaed hand
In each pocket, as the chords slice and shimmer we fall in step with the call,
As ‘we’re waiting with treason to beat down on the reason for being’ Bowsher
Becomes the King of Collapse clearly trouncing the much missed Mark E. Smith of The Fall.
Lived/We Loved’s brass cascade and Bowsher’s warning call lends new colour
To the ‘sweet dreams and nightmares’ we’re facing as he ‘sits here quiet somewhat
disinclined a lot’ a new genre moves from the realm of thought into fashion,
The fruit of older throats than those singing, here is a more perverse Sleaford Mod.
The White man’s urging to change run deeper than fiery urban description,
Bowsher’s turnarounds despite bleakness have in their sistered sounds, prophecy.
Through an accompanying dub mix Youth gives, that wiser tread achieves traction,
That grooves and moves with insistence the trailing, chastened feet of the free.
What the Man Made of Stone hits us hard with a synthlike wound cutting for us ,
Through ‘swirling chemcloud, left wasteland’ is soon taken over and used.
Memories become wrapped like comforting blankets, each sound and phrase
Show trust splintered as the needs to survive life’s abuse. Bowsher stands
On the mount, his megaphone like a Moses, not to receive but to question
Any sense of God there could be. He is born and must die. He is ash and man.
And God also. He ‘tames the wild beast’ before him and the ‘distorted dangerman’
Who’d run free. His sermon is one made of glowering flame, storm
And tempest. Undimmed by years of rejection, RDF realign.
They wrack the horizon for hope as ‘hope eternal is something’
As alchemical change bred by climate of product and thought
Fights its bind. The forces that oppose are still being battered down
By oppression, skies dooming over the landscape and rock we would climb.
RU1 provokes those whose material concerns command comfort.
Our need to seek pleasure is formed by our compulsive need to deny
All of that which defines the broken day, stark before us,
‘On foot in itinerant town, wisdom comes too late’, when we close ranks
And don’t notice the devil himself ‘walking by’.
Rogue Trooper finds pop through Foster’s dextrous bass and Cruickshank’s
Drum clatter.Bowsher stomps through his story of the ‘hunted man haunted
By oppression sound’, stays profound. ‘Bright eyes hopeful man..they will kill, can!’
Shifts song grammar to reveal how this writer can filter insights and then spear
Defences by lending the actions of evil fresh nouns. As you listen you learn and feel
Through this indie tempered style, Bowsher’s landscape. Radical Dance has its faction
In terms of collective group and glimpsed truth. The fictions of day, supplied and imposed
All around us are seen through the storming of the soldier’s resistance caught ‘with face on floor’
To spur you. Through dance driven song as opposed to earnest strumming, the dance
These songs are search for is one not just for feet, but souls too. The ‘peeling pallor’ was all.
But now we must fight for fresh colours, and not just the blood stained, wind struck
Rainbow and the ruined veins closed to blue.
Surplus People tells more and completes this picture.
Forcing the young and the wasted towards the direction of death kills us all.
The song calls for value, for change. The ‘revolution seed’ sown by singing
Of a man in his sixties to those so much younger than him in their fall.
How to survive. How to live. We’ve forgotten that there were once songs to show this.
Here they return again, each sound shining despite the smoke from souls burning,
‘travelling high’, staining sky.
Riverwise III is a broadcast from the apocaplyse shelter.
Bowsher eyes it sagely, sharing commentary through sharp notes. Morse coded calls
For positive reformation, as we attend to the water that will glory the castles
Of the kings that we could be if we only fought for freedom to restore pride through people
And each mythic stream to the flow and the filter and the defences we’d find
In dreamt moats.
Paris completes this frontal assault on resistance with epic romance
And a bassline echoing both Jah Wobble and Youth. Paris in the Spring for the Orator
And his lover, ‘flickering at the corner of every street’ is love’s proof.
It survives, despite death breathing hard on its shoulder. A Paris of the mind
And the spirit that lifts the warring soul from the dark. With heaven heard
In her words the old defeats are soon vanquished. Even in decline is the dreaming
That names this collection of songs and change we should chart.
With a ‘dime on the deal’ something truly real could be fashioned.
Thick drapes of brass fall to charm us as Motown reclaims Ghost Town and RDF
Leave their mark. The calls have been charged. All debts are off. Bowsher’s waiting.
Return at once. The receiver is waking you up from the dark.
Youth remixes these songs in an accompanying album.
As chords mutate his song portals reveal an entirely new kind of life.
His producing hands make the film that turn each ear and heart into actors
Who understand that the language they are formed to serve is sun bright;
It is the language you sense behind from and muscle; the body moves and engages,
Fusing what is heard with fresh light. And so, the Dystopia warps, music deepening
Across promise to show that the sounds of the future in Bowsher’s words,
‘would,could and should’ be better than the broken hands we’ve been dealt.
The Radical Dance dances on.
Fuck the known news.
Find the future.
You are the faction
There to recognise the sparked glory
In everything you once felt.
David Erdos December 18th 2018
Photo by Shankara Angadi