Red or Dead : No One is Innocent EPReleased: 11.12.2016
Read or Dead are acoustic punks, a spontaneous raggle taggle set of Llandudno Levellers. All politically active, they met protesting outside a UKIP conference - where, as Nigel Farage arrived, they performed a song one of them had written; their efforts made the first item on the BBC 6 O'clock news.
This is their debut EP, with four stirring tracks, all written honestly and deliberately from strongly held beliefs: Fall Down is about greed, and it has a great chorus full of pathos; Never Again is a coruscating rabble rouser with another powerful repeated refrain - 'Never again will I bow down to a false idea or a faded crown, never forgive, never forget, never yield and never relent'; No One is Innocent is about personal responsibility and turning a blind eye, and closer Watch it Burn a commentary on political apathy.
As you might expect (even demand) it's all a bit rough hewn - scornfully and quickly forged from guitars, hand drums, bass and contrasting vocals (Rob Murray's low growl and Gala Elvira's much purer tones - if you are of a certain age it's the ghost of the early Tansads knocking in your memory) - but there is fire and passion in the lyrics, and in the performance.
The songs themselves are proper agit-folk - you know when there is a lyrical reference to the 1381 Peasants' revolt that name checks Wat Tyler that you are not listening to a track that will make it onto the next Top Gear soundtrack album or George Osbourne's Christmas Party mixtape.
Red or Dead are not a million miles away musically or politically from where TV Smith's post Adverts solo career has taken him - urgent, politicised, utterly unarguable and more effective per song than a thousand Tweets in riling the blood to action; as a set of songs the EP is remarkably uplifting and inspiring - due to the band's effective shaping of anger into simple but energising messages and music.
Educate, agitate, organise, but don't forget to sing.