Boom! Crash! Boom! Crash! Crash!
“Set fire to the village”
We’re almost there. 2020 is almost over. We’ve got it on the run. How’d you do? You OK? You still got all your nearest and dearest?
Many people are referring to 2020 as the worst year ever. Remember 2016? We all though that was rough because it took Bowie, Prince and Lemmy with it. In comparison I’ll remember it as a cake walk. It’s like every year since then has got progressively more dystopian. As if the last 4 years have been daring their successor to do worse. Rushing us toward Gilead with the urgency of a schedule I for one never signed up to.
Once the holy trinity had fallen we got an endless show reel of shit shoved down our throats. Russian spies poisoning folks in England’s green and pleasant lands was but just one feature. In any other time this would have been a stand out moment. With the tinderbox that used to be known as the USA appearing to the rest of the world like it has a psychopathic illiterate pussy grabber at the wheel, tweeting Covfefe, caging children, enabling division through prejudice, dragging democracy through the sewers and projecting out loud his next diabolical deed. While his country burns. We pitied America for the first time in my memory.
Not that the UK have been in a position to crow. We’ve had Brexit hanging ever present over the UK like an Independence Day space ship that flushes it’s effluent over our national mood without ever actually turning on the big ray gun. Grenfell Tower went up in flames along with the remnants of any illusion HM’s G’s cared about it’s people.
The far right has been on the rise in all the most worrying places, North Korea went nuclear, Beirut blew up, The Amazon burned down, Manchester Arena got bombed during a pop show, A festival in Las Vegas made the Bataclan shooting look like a warm up, Net neutrality lost it’s fight against the oligarchs so now we’re being farmed for our clicks even while we sleep. Puerto Rico was an experiment in devolving a state back to 18th century poverty. Greta Thunberg proved those with a future are the enemy of those with the power of the past and Murder Hornets came and went without notice.
US school shootings were impossible to keep up with on the news, Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself but Prince Andrew killed the credibility of any of the ruling elite not being a perverted child catcher. The battle of Barnard Castle was only pulled out of focus by the ignition of a global civil rights battle that shows little sign of dying down anytime soon. I haven’t even mentioned corona virus.
I don’t see Billy Joel keeping up with that lot.
“No revelation we watched this all unfold, Climbed up that mountain made of gold”
How much time has passed? Since Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes put out their first album? We got Five Years. That’s all we got. To some five years may be too soon for a retrospective anniversary expanded edition of the debut album Blossom. Given the circumstances I think it’s right on cue. Get in now before it’s too late.
Carter is much beloved in this parish. Frank has more appearances than Black Sabbath, David Bowie and Aerosmith combined. He has even more entries than Frank Turner. Only Alice Cooper, Pearl Jam, Ginger Wildheart & Iggy Pop have more. Swift work for a band three studio albums in.
Blossom Deluxe arrived yesterday. Beautifully packaged in a sleeve that echoed the original albums art work (but after the flames had been extinguished). As ever the vinyl was a thing of rare beauty, just like the music was a thing of rare ferocity. The debut album has seldom been far from my listening habits in the five years it’s been with us. A raw and monolithic slab of punk in excelsis. Unadorned withe details, trinkets or features. It’s a solid bedrock for a band to build a sound on. Build they did. Second album Modern Ruin added moody atmospherics, reverb and spacious darkness (not to mention proper hit singles). Album number three The End Of Suffering was a kaleidoscope of hooks, balladry, guest appearances and festival highlights. It’s safe to say these Baby Snakes grew up in the public eye. Like a hero’s story arc in real time.
“And we saw the soldiers marching Across that barren land and those broken hearts that filled the tomb with blood, We are just prisoners of love”
These days they are one of the most respected live bands in the punk world and I’d expect them to be filling stadiums and headlining festivals by the time album number four hits some time after the end of the world.
A little look back then. To the before time. When they were Frank from Gallows new band. When they played venues that sounded like pubs (because they were pubs).
Just like when Radiohead revisited their watershed record OK computer a couple of years back and dug out a trilogy of unreleased studio tracks (and much like The Stones have done in 2020 with Goats Head Soup) Blossom Deluxe comes with Three absolute pearlers that could have been on the record but weren’t. Much like with OK Computer also, these tracks would not have sat right on any of the bands releases since.
So here they are, in the spaces between then and now. A very 2020 thing to do. Rewriting the what was. Fire was the lead track. It’s a roaring cacophony. It’s totally FC&TRS. The album was delayed (what with one thing and another) so Battlefield kept the prepaid mob sated while production caught up with lockdown delays. The third track Summer Of Blood was kept from me as a pure surprise when the record was waiting for me after a long week at work.
I sat with Blossom Deluxe last night. I had a couple of cold Camden Hells (the beer of choice in the sort venues I first saw The Rattlesnakes play five years ago) and I listened to those two colour discs as if they were relics of a time gone by. Then I remembered my blog. SteveForTheDeaf may have been inactive for almost a year (bar the odd bit of space time flotsam floating through the ether)
So, it’s almost over. How ya been? You good? Come on, we can do this. We’re in it together you know? I got your back. You got mine?