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What We Owe To Each Other – GagReflex (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Okay, I’m late to the party as ever. But if GagReflex can take 3 years to follow up A Mouthful of Marbles, then I think that I can be three weeks late in getting around to a review. But I’m here now…so what’s going on?

Well, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed since their aforementioned album. That might have been released in the wake of 2016’s tumultuous and unexpected world events…the decision to leave Europe, the start of the Trump presidency and the associated state of political entrenchment and weaponised opinion…but this collection of songs comes out with the population having lived through some of the effects of such moves. And it is the effect of such events on the man in the street that GagReflex has always been interested in exploring.

For a while, there was a surge of 2-piece, drum and bass wielding duo’s doing the rounds in the South-West of the UK, but for me, GagReflex were always the most interesting of the bunch. They had a way of taking the limited sonic resources they had chosen to work with and getting the most out of them. Where many of their competitors where just happy to make a racket, these chaps were more deft at being able to weave bass lines into angular melody and beats into industrial grooves…whilst making a racket.

Anyone who kicks off with a song titled No War But The Class War has nailed their colours firmly to the mast, and why not? If you are going to get on the soapbox, you might as well have something provocative and poignant to say. And they do. The Love Lost Between Planes and Guns is a love letter to the planet, a reminder that humankind has become a parasite, slowly making the host unfit for purpose rather than the symbiotic creature living in harmony with its benefactor.

Death Means Less Paperwork is an incendiary punk, bass and beat salvo as a cry for help and the e.p signs off with the beguiling, spiralling ambient-doom-pop of How The North Was Lost, a song which sounds like R.E.M on ketamine… in a good way and which seems to get ever more relevant as the days go by.

If you lament the fact that people don’t make political statements in their music anymore then buy the e.p. If you think that punk music has run its course then buy the e.p. If you think that alternative rock is the province of black clad, skinny leaned mid-westerners carrying on where the egos left off, then buy the e.p.  If you need a bag to scream into to relieve the growing tension in your soul…then buy the e,p (it does it for you.)

If you…. oh, I’m done explaining….just buy the fucking record!

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