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The Silence Industry - Headlong (General Strike!) (Aenaos Records)

31 May 2024

When we think of the rabble-rousing, musical calls to arms of the past, we might think of the sixties protest singers, political and socially-minded folk singers of the early postwar era, Chartist anthems, and the a capella songs of the Diggers and Levellers of the seventeenth century, and of earlier songs of rebellion too —songs born of poverty and inequality, advocating strike and revolt, social change, and speaking truth to power.

I mention this to set the tone of the intent behind the new one from The Silence Industry and to point out that they are following a solid and popular tradition, perhaps the most poignant purpose that music has been put to in its long history, at least in the last thousand years or so.

“Headlong (General Strike!)” is a forceful piece, a dark surge of post-punk energy and gothic atmospheres, a mesh of beat and bombast, muscle and melody, power and purpose. And if such a balance of music and message seems an unusual coupling, if The Silence Industry appears to be dealing in lyricism beyond the usual remit of their chosen genre, they only stand out because others around them seem more content to wax lyrical about fantasy imagery and dramatic nonsense. It is the dereliction of duty of their peers that makes The Silence Industry stand out so vividly and importantly.

We are currently living in difficult times. A time of social and racial injustice, a time of political entrenchment and a lack of social empathy. It is a time when our leaders seem to run roughshod over those they purport to serve—a time of war and displacement, of unrest and exploitation. My question is not why The Silence Industry feel moved to write such politically motivated and socially charged songs, but why more people don’t.