Wednesday, January 14, 2015

EP Review :: Grave Diggers Union - Don't Be Fooled By The Sun

Grave Diggers Union

Don't Be Fooled By The Sun

January 11, 2015 (Brock 'n' Broll)


Words: Dave Beech

Music is cyclical. As anyone with a passing interest in the subject knows, the timeless adage pop will eat itself has proven itself right time and time again, with genres and their conventions being rehashed and recycled almost endlessly. What's not always as obvious, is that whilst music is always revisited, it's almost always a product of the surroundings in which it was conceived as well. One only needs to look at the vacuous machine that is mainstream commercial pop in order to understand the context in which it's made. But what happens when bands are influenced, not by the perpetual ca-ching of album sales and sponsorship deals, but by a Tory government and the ever more apparent idea the Britain just aint that great anymore? Bands like Grave Diggers Union happen.

As one might expect with a name such as theirs, things aren't all peaches and cream in the northern town of Chorely, or anywhere else in the UK for that matter and as a direct result, the post-punk, proto-goth sounds that last reared their heads throughout the austerity of Thatcherism are back with a bitter, biting vengeance.

In a little under fifteen minutes, the duo (and a tape machine) manage to encapsulate and project an image of 'Broken Britain' which is far from that painted by the right; this is an image of a Britain broken by the very people who coined the phrase. Paranoia, despondency, apathy, all appear to be summarised, even personified, across the course of 'Don't Be Fooled By The Sun' and whilst the lyrics appear to deal with emotional detachment, particularly on tracks like 'Down', the flat, monotone delivery of them suggests an indifference across the board, something which rather surprisingly, makes the EP an arresting listen. Even from the first notes of ominous sci-fi synth of opening track 'Clouds', it's clear that this isn't just a band with an appreciation of '80s-forged aesthetics like so many others, they're a band who can look past the rose-tinted vision of the decade, to the austerity that gave birth to such influences as Joy Division, and Echo and the Bunnymen, and draw direct parallels with the present.

With swathes of '80s electronics and layers of percussion, 'Don't Be Fooled By The Sun' harbours more melody than one might believe, but it's difficult to escape the overbearing feeling of gloom the record perpetuates, even long after the closing notes have rang out. It's a testament to the band, who manage to impart ideas and concepts without ever addressing them lyrically, and whilst it might not be the most upbeat releases of the month, it's definitely one of the most interesting.

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