ALBUM REVIEW: Slow Faction – Unilateral Declaration of Independence (self-released)
Slow Faction are a London-based old school punk band who have been around for a few years now, and this is their fourth album.
Led by John Youens, who sings and plays guitar, they describe themselves as “a first generation-influenced punk band with a real London 77 sound”. And they’re not wrong.
Citing the likes of The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers as influences, they play politically-charged songs packed full of big hooks and choruses.
Youens runs the South London Punk Collective – a group dedicated to hosting and promoting DIY punk shows. His bandmates in Slow Faction are Kit Gould on drums, Umbi Liszka on bass and Lee Peterson on rhythm guitar, and they have come up with a great slice of political punk.
From the off the band rail against the state of Britain today, attacking Conservative austerity, the unfairness of Universal Credit, the rise of the far right, the demonisation of immigrants, and much, much more.
Title track U.D.I. is a state-of-the-nation address, which nails its colours to the mast immediately, with the opening lines: “They’ve put this country up for sale /It used to be worth more/But now it’s in the Poundland store.”
The Blank Generations, a slapdown of the baby boomers who’ve largely led us into this mess, reminds me of Goldblade (though that’s no bad thing) and there’s a little nod to The Clash by ‘borrowing’ the outro from Safe European Home.
And Never Said A Word examines the impact of war on those involved, their struggle to cope with what they saw and dealt with, and the affect on their loved ones when they come home.
Things really step up a gear with fourth track Antifascist, which reminds me of the Angelic Upstarts at their best, and has a great guitar riff to boot.
The target of The Breitbart Boys is the far-right American news, opinion and commentary website which has given the likes of Donald Trump and Tommy Robinson a voice. It delivers its verdict in no uncertain terms: “Fuck off Nazis”.
No Country For The Young contains one of the best lines of social commentary on the album – and there are many: “They say you can judge a nation/Not from the celebration /Of its rich and powerful /But how it looks after its poor…”
This is political punk at its best, not just anger for the sake of it, but well-thought-out analysis of what’s gone wrong with this country.
As a bonus you get Slow Faction’s take on the Woody Guthrie song All You Fascists Bound To Lose, and it’s a perfect fit with what’s gone before.
This is an album which I like more with every listen. You can download the album for free or order a limited edition CD on the band’s Bandcamp page here. Their previous releases are well worth checking out too. 8/10.