Melting Palms & Zahn live - An impressive fusion in the belly of the ship
British-Irish society is reeling. Racism, homophobia, patriarchal conditions, the worldliness of the upper class and, above all, the Brexit, create a social climate that is undoubtedly pernicious, especially for young people. On the brink of the collapse of an entire working-class generation, there is so much anger and loathing about the circumstances that demands expression and unfolds in post-punk. In times of great upheaval and rebellion, musicians and genres, social alienation, could be relied upon to stop and fill that void. Whether in the hopeful 1960s, the depressive 1970s, the changing 80s or the escapist 90s, the creators of their time recognized local grievances and let the music speak the languages of many.
That guitar music as a form of expression is regaining real relevance in the United Kingdom and Ireland, of all places, and is becoming a productive rage, is therefore no coincidence. The fact that bands like IDLES, SHAME, Fontaines D.C. or Dream Wife with their post-punk urgency reach for everything that serves catharsis makes them the most important rock bands in Great Britain and aggressive post-punk more relevant again than ever.
Progressive post-punk has always had the ability to name big social problems, which spoke from the music. Bands of the Beat(en) generation take the pain out of their homeland and thus found their medium. However, the idea of perpetuating punk has not recently been a British phenomenon. Recently, the Swedish Viagra Boys or Amyl And The Sniffers from Australia showed that a defeatist attitude in music has long been global. Loud charged riffs and driving rhythms paired with angry and political lyrics become the gesture of freedom, equality and justice. An overarching revolt becomes the chronicle of a band. Because with all the political and socio-critical context, the protagonists of the movement stand for one thing above all: resistance through musical joy.
However, punk is much more than just music. The term not only describes a style of music, but goes far beyond the narrative of punk rock. Nevertheless, in the context of music history, recipients describe punk as a genre. If one follows this thought and recognizes the connections, this movement is within the pop culture, a single song or band significantly superior, the history and the topic for these lines too complex and in other recommendable publications already excellently treated. However, one may be right to assume that this meta-level, this so crucial authenticity, makes the genre, punk, punk rock, perhaps more urgent than many others.
Post-punk genre representatives of the new generation are unvarnished and loud. Identity crises formulated in lyrics, with exploding music close together, give a direction. The fun becomes a provocation and runs through the present of many. Almost bluntly addressing everything that repels and disgusts, drawing attention to social ills with eccentric playfulness, and at the same time simply giving pleasure, makes these bands some of the most important in the modern music world.
IDLES are by no means overrated or underestimated. Like probably only a few, the five Brits from Bristol stand for musical development in post-punk garb. With so much pent-up anger about society and transparency about their own dark abysses of life, they sing about so much that is the existence of so many. They deliberately break with pop industry mores and are often far from infallible. But that makes them approachable and hits the zeitgeist. Under so much prevailing soulless calculation in the industry, it's easy to forget and lose awareness of what (post) punk is. And IDLES screams it loudly back into memory.
But it's not always seething Brits who draw their musical strength from frustration and discontent. Also in Ireland, more precisely in Dublin, songs are written, hooks and melodies to the musical protest. Irish society is in upheaval and the tone of the street is harsh. Post-Punk as a form of expression like that of Fontaines D.C. is a product about the conditions of the last years. Frustration which is looking for its equal and needs an outlet. Experimental and thoughtful anger as a tribute to the Irish working class, a recipe for success, a reality of life.
SHAME from London are also haunting and unadulterated. Already during the heyday of post-punk, around the year 2010, the five Brits around singer Charlie Steen made their fearlessly poetic debut in 2014. With lively punk attitude and indie airs, SHAME tell progressive and provocative stories about Great Britain and themselves.
Bands from predominantly Great Britain and Ireland deliver exciting new music about personal crises, with charged social criticism, as a drive for joie de vivre and a call for rebellion. An energy that can change things.
Post-punk as a massive social movement like all other important genres of its time. A circumstance that makes the importance of musicians and those who want to become essential. Punk has changed a lot. Post-punk can do it too. An album, a song, an artist becomes a cult and memory of a time when a record can move. Bands like IDLES, Shame, Fontaines D.C., Squid, Viagra Boys, Iceage and many more, bring warming chaos to cool social structures, providing positive impulses for the human community. This rage is real. It shapes the youth of millions of music fans and gives melody to revolt.
Originally published on May 24, 2021, updated on October 5, 2022