Reviewed by Henry Raby
In a tough political climate, ska-punk bands rise to the challenge to become just as tough. Faintest Idea are a band deep set in the wave of anti-Coalition politics stirred in UK music. They are angry, direct and do their genre a great service in their pointed rage and well-crafted Operation Ivy-style ska-punk. Their sound is at times bouncy, at times raw and always perfectly pinned down, reminiscent of Against All Authority, The Filaments and Have Nots.
Faintest Idea’s lyrical themes generally amount to a gruff attack on systems, be they capitalist, commercial, corrupt democracy etc. These systems are generally represented as a cage to be rattled, a House of Cards, or a shop being broken down or smashed down for example. “We’ve been left to rot by a system” they sing on Mutual Aid.
The intro track, …Back To The Asylum, is a wonderful spoken word piece with haunting tones lurking underneath. Bull In A China Shop has a fantastic hook, a real magic recipe for the perfect skankable sound and easily one of the most exciting upbeat tracks you’ll hear this year. Youth is an easy second, a wonderful hard-hitting and energetic tune. In fact, for a ska-punk fan, none of their tracks disappoint.
The sleeve art is a tapestry of the Houses of Parliament, smashed up Starbucks and rust-splattered Number 10, and they have captured the whirlwind aggression of protest campaigns within their music. The album can feel like being at the centre of a protest, occasionally grim and serious, sometimes fun and exciting, but always fuelled by a direct pulse of anger.
Faintest Idea paraphrases Emma Goldman by saying: “a revolution without dancing is not a revolution at all” and, quite masterfully really, tread that line between sharp, angry politics and that jazzy, bouncy 2tone-tigned sound. Get angry at the ConDems, but don’t forget to dance.