“A few sad bastards still like country and clean air”
The first album from P.A.I.N (Propaganda and Information Network) from the mid-nineties already has a lot of impressive alternative credentials behind it, being made up of ex-members of such excellent dub/punk crossover bands like Radical Dance Faction and AOS3; in fact the liner notes claim that this forms the third part of an informal trilogy with RDF’s ‘Ragamuffin Statement’ and AOS3’s ‘Diversionary Tactics’ (both of which are highly recommended).
Musically a bit more ‘punk’ than those previous bands, the album is a great example of that very British strain of reggae infused punk rock , infinitely better (in my humble opinion) that any American counterparts, played by such greats as the Inner Terrestrials, Headjam, Citizen Fish or more recently, the Autonomads.
The album ably mixes styles, starting with the slow burning, dubby ‘Beltane’ that addresses the road protests on Solsbury Hill (presumably on May 1st, as ‘Beltane’ is an ancient Gaelic festival that occurs on that date) and sets the tone for the rest of the album, unashamedly political but not without a sense of humour. The politcal nature shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as the cover features tintin with his face covered about to throw a petrol bomb! This political humour is evidence in the straight punk tunes ‘Everything Must Go’, cheekily talking about shoplifting and looting Sainsbury’s to the comic/serious ‘Oh No! It’s the Pigs’, which rather unsurprisingly is about the various abuses suffered at the hands of the British Police.
Elsewhere we have dub tunes such as ‘Pork Dub’, or the full on reggae tune ‘Money’; it all sounds like it would be too much of a mishmash to work, but it does, wonderfully.
Another essential record for anyone interested in political British punk rock, especially if you enjoy a bit of skanking and the odd reggae groove. Equally as good is P.A.I.N’s second album, ‘O.U.C.H’, but this one is my personal favourite. And to make things even better, it’s still available from Active Distribution for about four quid…