Recently, I overheard a conversation at a bus stop. An elderly gentleman was discussing the forthcoming EU referendum with his also-elderly female companion. The gentleman had read some leaflets, and it was his eloquent opinion that “all them foreigners can bugger right off”. His companion helpfully advised that she hasn’t watched the EU referendum since Terry Wogan left, and she can’t be dealing with all that gayness anyway. My reaction was to wrestle with the immediate urge to throw myself in front of traffic. Yet I resisted, as after all it just goes to show how difficult all this politics stuff really is. It’s even more difficult when a band does the politics thing, with bands often coming across as preachy or even worse, dull. Local punk favourites DropThis attempted to do the political thing and i’m happy to say have done it extremely bloody well too. The five-piece are back again in all their anarchic glory with new album ‘Culture to Criticise’.
It takes a lot of bravery and wit to be able to pull off a political album, and to not only do it successfully but to also keep it light and fun is nigh on impossible for most. I have to say again though, ‘DropThis’ have done a fine job on ‘Culture to Criticise‘. The record is fast paced and fun whilst technically as good as any other punk record I’ve heard, keeping all of their grit and tenacity without losing any clarity or tone. The more political songs are charmingly scathing and relevant with ‘Smoke me a Ukipper’, the barbed media attack of ‘Transmission Terminated’ and the delightfully Orwellian message of ‘Doublethink’ all fantastically well executed.
I wrote last year how enjoyable I found DropThis, and none of the vibrancy and frenzy has been lost in their first full length album. Both ‘Fameandshitarefourletterwords‘ and ‘The Colony‘ from 2013’s Start Smoking have been revisited, keeping that same old fast paced cheekiness which has become so addictive in their music. The whole album is a delight to listen to, a proper summer record if you’ll excuse the cliché, while the usage of audio clips from seemingly random places will never cease to make me smile. Where last time on Spitting Feathers they gave us Matt Berry, this time it’s a dose of always sunny, and where before we were served Cheval Incroyable now we have the poetic lyrical majesty of ‘DDDPP‘ which is both subtle and boastful in its delivery of some truly excellent imagery. The music is fun, and their humour cuts through and complements nicely.
I can’t not mention specifics so a quick word to say that the guitars of Andrew Keech and Nick Curtis are excellent throughout, solos are crisp and tasteful while everything else guitars is tight and crunchy. Pete Duggan’s bass is exactly as it should be, bouncy and prominent without taking away from Dan Atkinson’s strong and splashy drums. Vocals are as strong as ever, addled in tone and exactly what you’d come to expect from DropThis’ Jordan Harris. The female vocals on ‘Nothing‘ were excellent, while the vocal harmonies throughout are really well done, emphasising the weighted and meaningful lyrics. The whole thing is just really very competent in execution and production. Although I’d love to go on talking about how good DropThis are, I do have a word count (and most people stopped reading 3 paragraphs ago so fuck those guys).
‘Culture to Criticise‘ is a delight to listen to, delicate and serious where necessary (the audio clip on ‘transmission terminated’ in particular is brilliant) but ultimately a catchy and enjoyable experience. Even with such an overt message it isn’t patronising, and doesn’t demand from the listener. It’s a punk album at the end of the day, and such a fucking good one that DropThis have probably got the album of the summer here. Get stuck in and enjoy.