Mandemic could be probably the most… metaphysical… Dick Lucas has ever been. Whereas fronting anarcho legends The Subhumans, Lucas has spent a long time blasting faith – often organized, however typically on the idea of supernatural essence itself. However right here, on Tradition Shock’s shock new album Mandemic, he suggests that there’s a form of cosmic conflict occuring proper beneath our toes.
On the title observe, he calls out, “On the one hand we now have nature on the assault / we been messing with the meals chains / in case you mess with the steadiness it bites you again / humanity’s finish recreation!” It’s an fascinating flip, particularly because it suits proper into the identical thesis that Lucas and all three of his predominant bands (Subhumans, Tradition Shock, Citizen Fish) have been making since every of their inceptions. Lucas very a lot pitches anarcho politics and advocates for the dismantling of company energy, which he argues divides individuals and destroys the world for the revenue of a choose few. On this age of Covid lockdown, that’s definitely true, at the least directly- that creep Bezos is richer than he’s ever been and that’s the direct results of company failure to manage its outcomes and company means to take advantage of dying and tragedy.
So, that’s why it’s fascinating that right here, whereas Lucas does level his finger at capitalism, he means that the earth itself is an organism placing again attempting to get rid of its personal plague – humanity. However, whereas Rudimentary Peni or (traditional period) Amebix would pull that concept to increased ranges of astral musing, Lucas takes the proof and hammers it again all the way down to additional help his argument. “Do not you are worried in case you’re out of step / What you see and what they promise is rarely what you get” Lucas laments on “Penalties.” That’s, he’s not questioning “why are issues the best way they’re…?” He’s straight up saying, “HERE’S why issues are this fashion and we have to do one thing!”
But, in true Tradition Shock fashion, whereas most bands would again this dire message with abrasive, grindy music, the CS boys help the entire thing with bouncy ska and post-punk. Curiously, whereas many Tradition Shock releases have a tendency to drag from spacey, looming riffs paying homage to Gang of 4 and Wire, right here the band is in a juiced up mode. A number of skas are straight up ska-bouncers and will move for Citizen Fish tunes. My favourite facet of Tradition Shock is their willingness to make use of open area as an instrument itself, and so they break that out on the information b-side. As all the time, ina nod to reggae, they embody a dub of “focus” and have some enjoyable dropping a faucet dancing guitar and ghost home piano over the rhythm part. However, whereas reggae dubs are often pulled again and drift in a form of low, rumbling laggardly tempo, the Tradition Shock dub right here feels jumpy and is consistently bucking ahead. Maybe not like another anarcho-bands, Tradition Shock isn’t afraid to get arty and that pays off.
Nevertheless, regardless of individuals (myself included) typically say Tradition Shock is an “anarcho band”, assuming that the label truly means one thing and is hooked up to a particular set of beliefs, the closing observe, “Too A lot of Every part,” exhibits a outstanding stage of nuance. Right here, Lucas appears on the arguments of the left and the correct, and makes the purpose that the battle between these two sides is extra advanced than Fox/CNN shouting counsel. “Its a conflict we did not anticipate between / freedom of speech and its penalties…you’ll be able to’t converse when the phrases are coated in chains.” That’s to not say that Lucas is suggesting that the correct wingers are legitimate in a few of their positions, as a result of he’s not. However, he does appear to be suggesting that the left, when forming its personal arguments, ought to be cautious to not sacrifice necessary beliefs for the success of others. If something, he’s suggesting a extra aggressive assault, versus a defensive place: “They take us being quiet as permission to deceive / we higher get loud, and watch it rebound.”
It’s not straightforward to steadiness nuance with highly effective calls to motion and a way of enjoyable. Between their bouncy riffs, howled refrains, and diatribes slipped in between large bass slaps, Tradition Shock certain make it appear straightforward, although.