|REVIEW: Blaggers I.T.A. _Bad Karma_ (Parlophone)
Blaggers I.T.A. are a UK band that last year were being splashed all
over the pages of the British music press,
being an anti-fascist band before
the cause was a compulsory fashion statement.
They now release their
major-label debut, an album which outperforms
their debut and stands
favorably alongside any of the other Brit-pop
albums that have been raved
about this year, and, yet, barely a whisper
is heard. Why is this ?
Well, at the height of the hype, an after-show discussion over a few
drinks between lead Blagger Matty and
a Melody Maker journalist ended up with
the journalist receiving a kicking after
making several disparaging comments
to Matty's face. The resultant furor has
resulted in the band being given an
unofficial cold shoulder.
Now, I am in no way saying that what Matty did was admirable, but the
hypocrisy displayed in crucifying a band
for displaying the same tendencies
they seem only too happy to encourage
in Oasis, and an act of violence they
would have cheered from the roof-tops
had it been perpetrated against an
insulting *tabloid* journalist rather
than 'one of them', is laughable. Seems
you can talk about how hard you are till
the cows come home as long as you
don't actually *do* anything.
Blaggers I.T.A. are deeply political - they are affiliated with the
fight-fire-with-fire Anti Fascist Action
organization - but the politics here
go past the familiar 'racism is bad' chant
that we all know, and dig a little
deeper into UK and world politics. This
is done with an eloquence approaching
that of the Manic Street Preachers, although
with a good deal more clarity.
Musically, they are like all your favourite current Brit-Pop bands
rolled into one (which is what makes the
press snub all the more apparent) -
they have Oasis' cool-hooligan swagger
and pop-suss combined with a punk attack
that will have the New Wave of New Wave
bands giving up and going home and fans
of The Clash getting excited. On top of
all this a samples-and-rap element that
the 94-model Pop Will Eat Itself would
(and *do*) thoroughly approve of.
Sure, its not all perfect. Its often all too easy for the message to
get lost in Matty's sneer and snarl and
co-hort Christy's speed-fire rap but
the adrenaline rush makes up for this.
The music borrows freely from other sources, but the samples and vocals
give the album an unmistakeable identity
of its own. Everything from the
90-mph ram-raid of "Stresss" with its
70s-cop-show trumpets to the mid-pace
soaring guitar-pop of "Hate Generator"
reeks of something that, under normal
circumstances, the UK press would be getting
In the absence of that support then.....the hype starts here.
Bate -- Consumable