On first appearances, London trio Lomax appear to be both particularly well-read (check the lyrics, and then the dictionary) and to hate the influence of the contemporary journalist. So, what chance does anyone in these reviewing shoes actually have of not inadvertently incurring their wrath? Of course, if ‘A Symbol Of Modern Living’ was shit, it wouldn’t much matter – said reviewer (in this case, erm, me) would simply cast it aside without a second thought for the band’s personal disgust at their unflattering remarks about politics worn at jaunty angles and a hurried punk-rawk musical mess. But it’s not shit. In fact, it's fucking great.
Opener ‘The Bodies Of Journalists’ is among the most vitriolic introductions to an album that you’ll ever hear, fit to blow with venomous spite and bile for the nation’s great scribes of current affairs. Said journalists are seen as asking “if justice decides, are we the jury to sit right here and scrutinise?” In terms of setting your stall out early with scant regard for the inevitable backlash reaction from the irate journos, it’s unmatchable. Many of the tales told here revolve around the common man trying, often fruitlessly, to better himself. “It takes trust and conviction,” they tell us on ‘Arnstein’s Ladder’, one of a handful of songs that gleefully takes notes from The Clash songbook without ever sounding like a pitiful rip-off, or, worse still, a hideous pastiche. They may have enjoyed shows with the punk-funk likes of The Rapture and Numbers, but Lomax have at least one foot lodged firmly amongst the roots of old(er)-school punk rock, and manage to straddle the two scenes remarkably well, coming over all Gang Of Four one minute and contemporary Dischord (think Q and not U) the next. Breathlessly energetic from beginning to end, ‘A Symbol Of Modern Living’ may not be as chock-full of imaginative surprises as it is foot to the floor fury, but it is still one of the finest punk rock records this island has produced in a long while. Buy this, buy This Ain’t Vegas’ ‘The Black Lung Captain’ and The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg’s 'Everything Is Beautiful...', and bathe in the glorious feeling of smug satisfaction that comes when you realise that there are bands in this great nation of ours that piss all over everything the Yanks force down our throats day after day. Seriously, drink the feeling in, it's really quite something.
8Mike Diver's Score