When I was younger I worshipped at the feet of a whole bunch of bands who managed to take elements of punk swagger, apocalyptic blues licks and rockabilly beats and wrap them up in a blasted, bruised and brooding garage-rock package. Bands such as The Gun Club and The Cramps and I can hear their ghosts being resurrected in the shamanic sonic ritual that is Everything We’ve Ever Had (We’ve Had to Fight For.)
And the fact that Cold Water Swimmers formed in Prestwich, Manchester on January 24th, 2018, the same day Mark E Smith passed away might not be just a coincidence. Perhaps his wayward spirit is in the mix too, The Fall’s raw and revolutionary guiding spirit is also easily detectable in the song.
The song is an ode to outsiderism, to the working classes, to the different and the disenfranchised, the have-nots and the non-conformists, the old, the infirm, the everyman, all wrapped up in a raucous, cavernous wall of guitar, a grungy manifesto for modern Britain.
It’s also a song full of strange dynamics, wandering between dark rhythms and shout it from the rooftops sloganeering, from bassline lulls to sky-searing guitar noise, from acoustic guitar lows to incendiary highs. That’s how you take the listener on a journey, keep them on board and keep them guessing.
For many years now I have wondered why music and politics have stopped making merry, after all the world is as dark and divided as it has ever been and if you look to the past you can see the musical movements that have arisen from just such forces. The disenfranchised teenager gave us rock and roll, the black, urban experience produced hip-hop, the bored unemployed youth drove punk and two-tone and rave made oblivion and a chance to forget the troubles of the world just a few pills away. And since then…nothing!
So, is this the start of something? Is this the kickback? The straw that broke the camels back? Is this where people are starting to say enough is enough and finally remember the power of the musical message? Is this the soundtrack to change afoot, the rabble-rousing, rallying cry, a call to arms, the music of action? I really fucking hope so.