Punk attitude with no musical genre boundaries. Patchwork punk, folk dub skiffle with a liking for Krautrock and strawberries.
Review by Erin Incoherent
‘A is for Activistas’ is the freshman release of ‘Activistas’- a 5-person group out of Nottingham, UK. The 9-track album plays quick and has a lot to say. The songs boom, swing, and don’t apologize. The group achieves a unique effect with their use of gain vocals. They bring a taunting, jeering attitude which I love in snot-nosed English punk. You really hear the personality of each member in the overall listen through. These small inconsistencies give real life to the album. The outfit seems to draw influence from several places with a nod to anarcho, pre-77/proto punk and Oi. Like the Zounds had a baby with the Only Ones. Imagine singing this with your mates after leaving the pubs on the stumble home, because you’re definitely going to.
Activistas utilize piano on several of their songs, but the standout is ‘Black Dog Blues’ which pairs gruff main vocals and slide guitar against haunting and swelling piano for a track that really wouldn’t impact you the same without all moving parts playing off each other. The album moves from ‘house of horror’ tones to reggae and hits several influences in between. This group is not afraid to accentuate their soft side either, as showcased in ‘Starman’- the album’s only acoustic track.
‘A is for Activistas’ is a political album spoken at a time where reckoning and change is very much upon us. The album is rank with political satire, tongue-in-cheek snarkiness, and haunting reminders of the work that needs to be done. ‘Mother Earth is Dying’ is perhaps the best example of this. It opens by saying ‘Mother Earth is dying, dance upon her grave. Let’s raise a glass to the fuck we never gave.’ which acts as the chorus of the track. This song also acts as one of the best examples of the groups dynamic range, as the main vocals in this track aren’t sung, but spoken. Radically and poetically about veganism, accountability, and the end of days. It is a profile of the depth this band is willing to explore.
The album ends with a song about standing together for the common good of our planet and rejecting our current, fascist system ‘They Haven’t been fucked since Cromwell’ doesn’t fail to deliver the snappy tempo and sarcastic lyrics the entire album displays so well. To put it in the words of the band: “Activistas make the music they want with very little respect for musical boundaries and write songs about the stuff they give a shit about.” The result? An album that speaks of activism from every angle.
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