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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Hard Rain at Sunshine Corner - Jon Zip featuring Mescaleros Pablo and Smiley.

The future is certainly unwritten.
Jon Zip can attest to that as I doubt in 2002 when the word came in of Strummers demise that he would have considered that all these years later he would be releasing an ep with the support of a couple of Mescaleros.
Or that in many ways he would be carrying the torch for those who gravitated towards the Guthrie-esque ‘this guitar kills fascists’ angle that uncle Joe was so fond of.
And yet here he is doing both, and with suitable agit-folk aplomb.

In hindsight some may claim they could have second guessed that this was on the cards after the Zips collaborated with the Strummerville charity to release the critically acclaimed ‘Road to Strummerville’ but hindsight claims are often easy to drop into the present with the ring of faux veracity applied.
So I call bullshit on them, but thankfully that’s the only hint of bullshit that is lurking around the arrival of this release.

With ‘Left Of Your Rights’ Jon, with Pablo and Smiley, starts of strong with a soft busking delivery of a song with a strong message.
In many ways it is a timely reminder that the establishment never sleeps when it comes to the erosion of civil liberties and we shouldn't just be vigilant, but proactive in protecting them.
Just when people in some quarters were considering that there is nothing musical out there with a message attached to it, and the protest singer was riding off into the sunset, Jon Zip softly slaps this one about your face in the nicest way possible.
He appears to instinctively understand that sometimes the voice of protest doesn't have to be a roar, and that a thought provoking lyric can do the job just as well as a rousing call to arms.

‘Kill Your Darlings’ is the quintessential mature punks response to the lacklustre nothing to say tired old template that modern pop music has become.
The autotuned era of vacuous and repetitive drivel that the mainstream has been pushing must die.
It’s been shovelled at us for so long now that it has become nothing more than an indistinguishable background of aural wallpaper that we barely register hearing.
A sound that has a sell by date that is long expired and no one got the memo.
We can’t kill our idols any more as the current crop of stars fall short of being able to carry the weight of being one, but turning our backs on the media darlings is probably a good call.

With ‘Wrong Door Raid’ the ghost of Bo Diddley is given a nudge as the guys have a bit of a laugh with mistaken identity issues.
It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see this as a future live favourite with a bit of rollicking audience accompaniment added.
The piece de resistance is however left to last with the inclusion of ‘1919 (Battle of George Square).
I wouldn't be surprised if the song draws some misguided criticism as some may want to claim it to be rooted in some sort of nationalistic fervour.
A hangover from the Scottish referendum perhaps?
More fool them as this is no more and no less an anti war song and its power cannot be denied.
Here were men returning from the trenches to abject poverty rather than a welcome fit for heroes.
No jobs, rents artificially inflated, and then as a response to the Red Clydesiders strikes Churchill puts the tanks on the streets and machine gun posts on the roofs.
This was their reward.
The payment for daring to survive what must have felt like Armageddon.
A betrayal, and one that is rarely mentioned in the history books.
We will fight them on the beaches and our own people on George Square if it comes to that.
It is simply in my opinion the best song that Jon Zip has penned and he should be rightly proud of how it is constructed, the message that it carries and the eloquence of its intent.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

A hard Rain At Sunshine Corner is available from NHC Music.
Jon Zip will be playing an instore set at the New Hellfire Club on the 3rd of May at 5pm.
The Zips on Facebook.

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