Share UP THE WORKERS! - Thee Faction (Soviet Beret)
It didn't work out for the Malcy McLaren-era New York Dolls but putting some hammer 'n' sickle in with the rock 'n' roll comes off OK for these left-leaning Brits. Commitment to the cause extends to sending liner notes cheerios to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It's doubtful those gents are around to reciprocate but if dressing garage punk in Commie clothing and sticking it so far up The Boss his eyes water is your go, you'll probably relate to Thee Faction like the back of Trotsky's head to an icepick.
If you ask me (and you didn't - but too bad) the influence of politics in music as a major game-changer is way over-rated. For every MC5 there's a million Lady Gagas and the message all too often falls on deaf ears. There might be an audience of swinging voters populating the margins, but most of the preaching is to the already converted.
So I don't know how seriously to take Thee Faction's neatly packaged diatribes. Not that it detracts. Thee Faction (the extra 'e' is vital in Garageland) tunefully slot sloganeering into songs like "Marx, My Main Man" and "Join The Party" with the subtlety of a small African nation changing regime. In the end, though, it doesn't matter if they're taking the piss. We can all be in this for the laugh or take it to another level. Unlike doing time in a gulag, the choice is yours, and it's more fun too.
Boiled down to the basics, Thee Faction play faintly poppy, garage rock tunes. There's a message but the music counts most. A song like "Ready?" might be a not-so-thinly-veiled rant about the flaky edges of capitalism but it also rocks. "Customer" sounds like a wordy Billy Childish with his fangs sharpened, or Billy Brag with his Chuck Berry on. And the winner for longest song title of the year goes to…"Capitalism Is Bad For Corporations, That's Why You've Been Told Socialism Is Bad All Your Life". Which is a mostly spoken-word rant that leads into a hidden noise track revealing Thee Faction to be no avoiders of feedback, as bourgeois as they might say it to be.
"Angry" indulges Thee Faction's dirty guitar side but it's still lightened by a Beach-Boys-via-the-Dictators chorus. "Do Yr Bit" is a bit music hall for mine but the aforementioned "Ready?"
is the pop pup of this litter. The best singalong since "You Won't Get Me (I'mPart of the Union)."
Presumably, all the proceeds from this record go into a collective that's housed in a broken-down squat on a seedy council tenement and Thee Faction don't charge to get into their shows. Then again, how's a band supposed to pay for new strings? Show some solidarity, Comrade, and buy this. - The Barman
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