Release Date: Feb 17, 2017
Record label: Parlophone
'Where are the political bands?', asks yer da, clutching a well-worn Billy Bragg LP / sporting a Rage Against the Machine t-shirt bought from HMV (delete as applicable). Obviously what this wilfully ignorant parental unit should realise is that it's harder to find a new artist /not/ weaving their worldview through their art, directly or otherwise. Just take our February issue as case in point; whether it's cover stars Run The Jewels' balls-out call-outs, MUNA's deliberate pronoun omissions, or huge swathes of UK indie teaming up in aid of the current refugee crisis, any arguments that today's musicians have nothing to say are straight-up bullshit.
The debut album from the fiery London-based rockers, Dumb Blood is a profanity-laced and politically charged rant of a record that mixes sneering English punk pathos with nervy, melody-driven indie rock. For the most part the crown is spared -- the Queen can apparently save herself -- but that doesn't mean that ringleader and band namesake Mattie Vant doesn't have a bone or five to pick with the world. In just over 40 minutes -- nearly an hour if you spring for the deluxe edition -- Vant takes on climate change, education reform, sexual assault, the plight of Syrian refugees, American gun violence, etc.
A s anyone who witnessed A Tribe Called Quest booting a border wall to bits at the Grammys will attest, this is an unusually lively time for politically minded pop music of all stripes. Of course, the downside to such engagement is that for every Lemonade you're likely to get 10 sixth-form common-room jam bands wailing about "TONY B-LIAR". Dumb Blood, the debut album from London outfit Vant, unquestionably falls into the latter camp.