soundCHECK 296 – April 23rd 2015

Sigh. The lead up to another general election. I can’t bear it. And not because of the unrelenting machismo, manipulation and mandatory posturing of smile-for-the-camera political leaders. Sure, that’s annoying, but it’s tolerable. No, the very worst thing about an impending election is the chilling realisation that I have to make a decision.

That stance might sound narcissistic, but you don’t know the depth of my indecisiveness. If my indecision were a forest it would make the Sundarbans look like Jungle Land at St. John’s Garden Centre. How am I meant to decide who should lead the country when I struggle to choose which pair of socks to put on in the morning? Giving me the vote is not good for society.

This is not an issue of political disengagement. But if it were, a song called Great Britain by Regime would make a damn good soundtrack. In a nutshell it’s one of the most humorous and intelligent avant-garde political protest songs ever written. One where the self-proclaimed status of Great Britain is paradoxed with wry observations like:

It’s a down-five-pints-and-get-in-a-scrape Britain. Take a look around it’s an overweight Britain – all spotty and fat you’ve had too much cake Britain. Travelling around I see a cruel Brittania. Playing the common man like he’s a fool Brittania.

The song was penned by Bristol-based hip-hop and reggae fusion Regime (go listen at soundcloud.com/regimesound). And this Saturday (25th April) the five-piece perform at The Palladium in Bideford, with support from Bideford’s own fusion of reggae, ska and funk: Skata Tones. (Recommended listening: the fantastic Celebrity at soundcloud.com/skata-tones.) Doors are at 8pm, entry is £3.

Keen to grab their own slice of the syncopation pie – and proving that as soon as the sun makes even the slightest appearance, North Devon defaults to summer vibes – is Lilico’s, who host six-piece reggae outfit Lionstar (lionstarmusic.com) tomorrow (Friday April 24th) from 10pm (free). It’s all a bit reggae-by-numbers and at times appears a little contrived, but the group have just finished a few gigs with Lee Scratch Perry and are clearly doing something right.

The most exciting thing about Lionstar is their website, where, whether by design or otherwise, you can play four of their tracks. Simultaneously. If there’s any more fun to be had online, I don’t know what it is. The resulting aural mêlée is a brow-furrowing whirlwind of offbeat guitar strums, deep-groove basslines and piercing trumpets – the kind of sound that would burst into the air were you to travel back in time and cleaver open Bob Marley’s brain.

In fact, someone should illustrate that image for Lionstar’s website.

CONTACT: Please talk to anyone but me, unless you have local music news: jharper[at]northdevonjournal.co.uk | @testforpulse

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