Bad Karma is something Blaggers ITA certainly know well. Dropped ignominiously off EMI after one album, and dropped off the highest profile tour of their career for headbutting a journalist, Blaggers effectively committed career suicide before their career ever took off. The story behind it is simple: Frontman Matt had been a hardline fascist in his earlier years, and while in prison had been introduced to Marxism by his socialist cellmate, and completely changed his outlook to the left. Even a cursory listen to the band would show you that the journalist who came up with the line “Once a fascist always a fascist” to the point of violence totally misunderstood the band and was trying to gain copy. Instead he gained a head injury for his troubles and baiting.
I can’t condone violence under any circumstances, but the quote from Black panther George Jackson sums it up ideally:”POLITICS IS VIOLENCE” on the insert sleeve sums up the Blaggers hardline approach. With an explicit and unashamed left wing agenda, this band encapsulate equally the ideals of Consolidated and the Manic St Preachers (before the latter turned into the MOR of later years, before Richey’s politicised lyricism was replaced by Nickys’ bland moronicism that makes Kelly Jones seem articulate sometimes) with an indie punk sensibility drawing equally from the Clash, Chumbawumba, Senser, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Black Panthers and Karl Marx. Mixing elements of ska-punk way before it was popular, with speech samples, drum loops and a dance sensibility courtesy of producer Ralph Jezzard (EMF), Blaggers sound like a band out of time – it seemed dated in 1994, swamped in the deluge of the happy Britpop of Oasis and Blur, rather than agit-pop of Back to the Planet, Credit to the Nation ; yet now, it seems like years ahead of its time, It sounds like a record that could have been made in 1981 or 2001, and yet fiercely brilliant in both years.
Every song here is like a rallying cry to some failed and forgotten revolution, like the quashed 1905 revolution of Russia – a call to arms, a call against apathy and injustice In a world that then, as now, is selling millions of records that placate rather than agitate, that soundtrack and condone a existence where Coldplay or Blur or Oasis are seen as heroes for singing vague slogans and introverted millionaire miserablism. Like Band Aid, There’s a world outside your window, a world of dread and fear – and its not in Ethopia. Its in England, Europe, the West. This is not a charity record. This is for the Coldplay, the Travis, the Blur fans, the bland generation ; this is a wake up call. Records like this burn with a passion Travis, the Sterophonics and Coldplay can only dream of.
9Graham Reed's Score