For over 20 years now the IT boys have articulated our anger at injustice and our love for a world that we would create. The live shows are of course the secret of their success. Always igniting the messiest of festivals and gigs with their complete onstage professionalism and the exactitude of their tight sound. Yes the politics are worn of every sleeve but it is the musicianship that has always been the priority and the key to their enduring appeal.
Away from those muddy fields and cider soaked dance floors they’ve always paid the same attention to detail in the studio and this latest offering is no exception. Having given us a few tasters and coped admirably with the utter weirdness that is the COVID-secure online album launch we now get the whole story and it doesn’t disappoint.
‘Chain of command’ gently lures you in with its melodious acoustic beginning before exploding into a thumping punk tune that pulls the heavens down into its very own pit of rage. The absolute precision of Jay’s traction engine guitar for those stop-start chords is a style he has perfected and this one is sure to be a live favourite.
The tempo comes down slightly for ‘Enemy within’ a beautifully crafted tune than melds sub bass with a skanking riffs and a dreamy refrain. Then it’s headfirst into the punk explosion that is ‘Eco wars’. A spiraling howl of rage at the inevitable environmental catastrophe that we seem intent on creating. There are certain terrifying stats which just cannot be repeated often enough.
After a bit more gentle skanking perfection with ‘Break out’, ‘Binary Dust’, by contrast, is Level 42 with an injection of spliff & brew. .
Fran funks out like you wouldn’t believe for a tune which is surely going to bear witness to some of the most ambitious dance moves imaginable at those squat parties to come? The sound is distinctively that of the Terrestrials as they’ve always played within their own parameters. But it is one of those numbers that shows just how far they can push that formula in new and challenging directions.
Next those weighty bass lines and laconic beats draw us into the beautiful dream-like track ‘Under the sun’. This band have crafted their musical kingdom around the dub vibe and this tune washes over your ears in waves of pure excellence.
Then it’s back to the short-sharp chords of ‘Mercenaries’. Broken up by operatic bass lines that almost, (but not quite) stray into the territory of prog-rock. Welcome vocal intervention by Magali (La Fraction) builds the narrative up into a crescendo of pure mayhem that just makes us miss the experience of those live gigs more than ever.
It is carved in ancient scripts that each and every IT album must include a celebration of life on the road and this one delivers ‘Irreverent’. An anthem that rejoices the beauty of freedom as it pulls you into the last rays of the setting sun with its big choruses of pure hope and optimism. It is a rare and welcome moment of uplift, away the themes explored by what is their darkest release to date.
‘Servile masses’ delivers a withering commentary on the state of mind chosen by so many unfortunate souls to a gentle skanking tune. By contrast ‘No passaran’ is a raging anti fascist call to arms that injects fire into the belly of all who believe that action speaks louder than words. If history isn’t going to repeat itself.
Finally we get the reflective beauty of ‘We remember your name’, which rapidly descends into an all out musical mosh of burning intensity.
Jay and Fran continue to play to their strengths writing material that stays with the script while pushing their sound to its absolute boundaries. Meanwhile Ben has brought in a raft of creative beats jumping into shoes that many would have thought were impossible to fill. This LP stands proudly alongside their previous releases and I for one can’t wait to see it played live.
by Guy Smallman
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