Broadcast by Shotgun Politics


Songs on the CD:

  • 1. Rebel Radio
  • 2. Pill
  • 3. New Year’s Day
  • 4. London Town
  • 5. Johnny Rage
  • 6. Mama’s Girl

Shotgun Politics is one of the most fun bands I’ve encountered in a live setting, so I was really curious to hear what they’d sound like in the studio. Six songs on the EP later, I have to say that it’s pretty good. There’s a lot of Ramones in it, as this mix of early punk and pop was at the heart of Joey Ramone’s musical creations. Even the band nomenclature is Ramones-esque, with all of them assuming the sobriquet of “Gunn”. All Gunns were certainly firing when they recorded this – it presents a picture of a band that’s got a rollicking sound that they clearly enjoy as much as anyone listening. The subject matter is highly varied; from presenting the radio as a saviour to a young mind, to buoyant nostalgia, from ominous observations in the street, to the risqué manner in which they offhandedly dismiss parental sapience, the lyrics are engaging in their uncomplicatedness (as you’ve probably gleaned, they’ve provided lyrics with the CD!!) They all describe situations that are almost uniformly relatable to by the listener, and though this does come off as overly simplistic at points, it works for the most part, primarily because they have a sound uncomplicated enough to pull it off.

There’s also a bit of bold (but endearing) trickery that they’ve pulled off, by modifying openings and chord patterns that also belong to other songs. Rebel Radio uses, basically, the chords of The Kinks’ All Day and All of the Night – the vocal approach is far more oblique than Ray Davies’, though. The lead guitars are highly reverbed, and the bendy riffs adorn the Britpop-ey song well. The singular of Bo Diddley’s classic, Pill kinda sounds like the Ramones’ I Wanna Live to a rockabilly tune, and there’s this cool driven, retributive feeling that the song takes towards the end. Mama’s Girl has you waiting for Johnny Rotten’s pompous “Right…now!” at the start of Anarchy in the UK, but instead takes a hopping, r’n’r rhythm through the explicit turf of the song. London Town starts with a looping guitar line, offering a distended view of somewhere that is referred to as London, but is symbolic of a state of mind. The drums are very perceptive throughout, and crucial to effecting the songs’ moods, as they probe between jazziness and r’n’r , especially so in the excellent Johnny Rage, which also features some classic rock-like zipping guitars.

I always like it when bands leave in bits of banter between the songs, and it helps set a more relaxed mood before the last song. Additionally, around 2 minutes after the last song, there’s what sounds like someone humming Pill, near a (very loud) window – just a bit of fun as an afterthought, if you care to listen. The one thing they must do, though, is to improve the vocals – the harmonies sound weak and the vocals forced, at times. But, other than that, there’s not much that detracts from what is a lively, and substantial piece of work.

— Shashwati Kala

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