Friday, 10 October 2008

Death of the Neighbourhood - Death of the Neighbourhood (Atic 2008

Remember Babybird and 'You're Gorgeous' and Stephen Jones, the figurehead of the band and remember how he was brilliant at writing songs, prolific and a perennial underdog, despite the crossover of his dark scathing 'You're Gorgeous' tune with its big chorus. It was almost like people didn't listen to the lyrics.

So, what happened to him? Well, he kept writing songs and releasing them, under the radar except to diehard fans. And now he's back with an ambitious double disc concept album under the name Death of the Neighbourhood and he hasn't lost an iota of his talent or dark soul. Death of the Neighbourhood takes in pounding hip-hop drums, askew electronic computerised vocally distorted words, tear-searing ballads and off-kilter evil punk. There is a funky groove to the tunes but there is a distinct punk sensibility that keeps its concept, that we're fucked as a country cos the neighbourshood's been lost to drugs, prostitutes, violence, governments, councils, people, humans, shitting dogs and contempt.

The rare single release, 'Cokeholes' is a skewed celebration of society's ills wrapped in a cacophony of warped soundscapes and black humour. Furious lyrics, pop sensibilities and achingly emotive melodies all buried under layers of electronic punk and fury. The world's fucked, from a small scale up and it's up to you to murder the perpretators that stole our souls in the first place. It's inspirational to see that Stephen Jones hasn't been eaten up by the music machine and is still out there making brilliant relevant urgent music as political as the best of them. When 'Forgot to take my Drugs' reaches its beautific cry of anguish and pain of squelchy but sad funk basslines, you start to feel hypnotised by the music. 'Brainwhack' is as punkish and experimental as the album gets with its furious drive and whacked out synths. On CD2, the exhaustion sets in but the pace doesn't relent resulting in the impassioned cry of 'Lost Youth part 2' and 'Cool Breeze on the Back of the Neck.'

This is a record that needs to be heard to be believed. It may be a little long and exhausting but it doesn't lack in vision and detail. The song-writing is consistently intricate all the way through and the lyrics are political and passionate and sombre all the way through, poetic and poignant. The versatility of the musical pallette is impressive, with vocals straying between properly sung, vocally distorted or rapped and the instruments behind jamming in every genre known to man. It's impressively varied stuff.

This is an important album for 2008. It needs to not be ignored. Go and check this out now.

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