You know what the music industry needs? A political supergroup. Yep, you heard me right. Well, in Thee Concerned Citizens we appear to have found exactly that. Formed in order to “bring down the government using rock and roll” their debut album Solution Songs was released in time for last year’s general election. Clearly they are not a band who are afraid to step into the spotlight. But does this album back up their claims? Actually, yes it does. And it does a lot more to boot.
Featuring a line-up that looks incredibly impressive on paper, these are seasoned musicians who have some damn fine credentials on their collective CV. We have singer/songwriter Chris T-T taking up the position of vocalist, alongside Bluetones guitarist Adam Devlin, Billy Brentford from Thee Faction, Steve Barnard (drummer for The Alarm), Andy Lewis (Paul Weller’s bassist), Kerry Schultz, Darren Hayman and Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) to complete the set. Add into the mix the string section from The Manic Street Preachers and I think you’ll agree this is intriguing already.
Describing themselves as “A Revolutionary Socialist Stiff ’78-style R’n’B band to promote class consciousness” their aim is very apparent – to promote Socialism in the medium they know best: music.
The message is clear, but more than that, what they have produced is an album of gorgeous sounding, high energy, cracking tunes which will stick in your head and your consciousness long after you’ve finished listening to the album. And it’s worked.
I have been recommending this album to anyone and everyone who’ll listen (and those that don’t) because it’s got me well and truly hooked. I love the honesty of this record and the thought provoking lyrics have done their job incredibly well. It is heavily political, but that’s the point. I mean, the track listing should give away the purpose of this record with titles such as ‘Deft Left’, ‘Soapbox’ and Better Than Wages’. And let’s not miss off the song title of the year which goes to the marvellous ‘Iain Duncan Smith’s Weeping Hemorrhoids’, a quirky instrumental which brings a bit of humour to the situation very nicely.
I am not someone who is overtly political in nature, but I do love music and am willing to listen to pretty much anything that comes up on my radar. As I was already a fan of a few of the noted ensemble, I was keen to listen to this album to see what it was all about. What Three Cee Cees have achieved with this record is to bring to my attention (and hopefully to many other peoples aswell) is that there is a place for politics in music and it’s a bit more that just being about protest songs. I mean, this album is called Solution Songs for a start which shows that they are asking us to think about the message, open our eyes and then do something about it ourselves by arming us with the knowledge. Food for thought right there.
But even if you don’t take the message on board, it’s still a great album full of punk rock, sing-a-long tunes which embrace the working classes and get you moving your feet. A highly infectious effort which I’ll certainly be playing for a long time to come.
“If pop music is art, then let it be a hammer, not a mirror. An artist accepting a bourgeois society is complicit”.
Play it loud to help the cause, comrade.
I asked Adam Devlin to give me a quick soundbite to wrap this up and he said this:
“The only crumb of comfort from David Cameron’s victory is that it pretty much guarantees a second Cee Cees album”.
I’m looking forward to it already.
Solution Songs is available on Blang Records. Buy your copy here
Visit the website here http://theeceecees.org/
This review originally appeared on Record, Rewind, Play in June 2015