Review: Bad Breeding – Exiled

Politically-charged bands have no shortage of material to work with these days. Especially in Britain, as we approach a decade of Tory rule in the midst of Brexit shambles, there are a plethora of bands capitalising on a dire situation through music.

Exiled’ is exactly what a “political” album should be. Taking influence from noise-rock, anarcho-punk, and a plethora of other equally raucous corners of the musical world, Bad Breeding’s third record is a pure, violent burst of sonic rage. There’s no pretence, no wordy extended metaphor, no beating around the bush – just twelve tracks of righteous fury, each one directed with laser-beam focus at a different social issue. The band are most concerned with their working-class roots and the manner in which places, such as their hometown of Stevenage, are affected by rampant neo-liberalism.

From the get-go, Bad Breeding make their intentions known. The opening title track sounds what would happen if Crass and METZ had a child together, combining no-frills UK punk with rhythmic experimentation and noisy production choices. This amalgam continues throughout the record, but presents itself in a variety of different ways and develops as it progresses. ‘Theatre of Work’, for example, utilises wild horns and a slow tempo to create an unnerving atmosphere, while ‘C.S.A.M’ opts more for out-and-out fury.

The final track, ‘Tortured Reality’, is a long, spiralling stream of consciousness fuelled by harsh, grating guitars. It seems to go on forever, working as if to put the listener into a demented trance. It’s the perfect ending to such a purposefully confrontational record.

Sonically, ‘Exiled’ is a fantastic album, full of left-field instrumentation and interesting structural ideas, but when you take into account the bigger picture, it becomes something more. This album is a statement, and it truly feels like it carries some weight behind it thematically. Bad Breeding have created an unflinchingly ugly portrait of modern Britain here, and it feels vital.

4/5

Exiled’ by Bad Breeding is out now on One Little Indian Records.

Bad Breeding links: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

Words by Jack Hardiman (@bigjhardiman)

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