Neville Staple has always been someone comfortable to use his music as a way of talking about the world around him, as he sees it, even when that world is temporarily bounded by four claustrophobic walls. Finding a tone which fitted the sense of isolation and paranoia of the times, Lockdown shares a lot of sonic territory with the iconic Ghost Town as well as the dark undercurrents which often ran through his post-Specials band, Fun Boy Three.
Neville, aided and abetted as always by his wife and musical travelling companion Sugary, admit that when writing the song they had to discard early sonic drafts on the grounds of being too upbeat, failing to capture the required sombre mood that lockdown has inflicted on so many people. The black and white, 2-tone symbol of unity which has always been associated with the musical movement that he was so important in creating, have here perhaps mixed and merged into the necessary grey from which the song’s frustrations are forged and fashioned.
But just the act of putting such thoughts and feelings into words and music is also an act of unity and of celebration in itself. We are all going through the same experience, albeit at a suitable distance, but knowing that there is a common bond that we really are “all in this together” is just the tonic (pun intended) we need to help get us through.
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