Release Date: Apr 7, 2017
Record label: Rocket Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Manchester's Gnod are many things, but shy isn't one of them. Just Say No to the Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine isn't exactly a political statement, but it is unashamedly informed by the contemporary political environment. As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, Trump sits in the White House (or in a Florida golf buggy), Marine Le Pen prepares for her shot at the French presidency, and the painful slow motion collapse of neoliberalism's ill-founded political consensus continues, the unholy cacophony bands like Gnod are capable of unleashing feels utterly essential.
With a title as wordy as Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine, you'd think that Gnod has crammed their latest album with politically charged rhetoric. After all, it's not as if the world hasn't taken a veer to the right of late and unless you're particularly pleased with Brexit, the alt-right, Trump, et al, or you're an aging punk splendidly resident in the USA intent on trolling your rapidly disappearing fan base, there's plenty going on to work with at the moment. And yet Gnod's most verbose statement on the entire album is on its cover.
Salford's Gnod have had about a decade of building up a fearsome reputation, largely based on their heavyweight, noxious gigs. Something of a party (political) band for the experimental rock scene, Sonic Attack-era Hawkwind ominosity is often draped liberally around their visceral riffing, as are enjoyably messy jazz flourishes. They vary in style, but here deliver the sound of recent, punked-up, space rock-infused shows, the crucial issue thus being the sometimes somewhat agitprop lyrics.
One could argue that rock's originality, the great spirit that made Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, King Crimson, My Bloody Valentine or Swans (and so many others) so valuable has been all but lost in the last decade or so (and indeed, I have), but as protest music, rock is pretty much unique in the impact it can have. Sure, jazz and folk have fine records of righteous indignation and politically-charged invective, but there's something about the immediacy of ragged electric guitars and hell-for-leather drum crashes that just hammers the message home that much more forcefully. Salford's premier psychedelic crew Gnod have taken up the protest baton on this lengthily-titled album and the message couldn't be any clearer, could it? It's certainly timely, what with everything that's going on, even if the title does read like a 1970s Marxist tract handed out at Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rallies (still a worthy cause, mind), as the band's bassist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Haslam makes clear in the blurb accompanying the album: "It seems like we are heading towards even more unsettling times in the near future than we are in at present.