Faintest Idea - Ignorance is This - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Faintest Idea - Ignorance is This

by Charly Richardson Rating:5.5 Release Date:2010-08-09

Ignorance is This is the second album from Faintest Idea, a five-piece 'rude boy street punk' band from the small towns of Swaffham and Litcham which lie between Norwich and Kings Lynn. It is the latter they ally themselves with, not that they are exactly tourist-friendly representatives: "I smile 'Welcome to Kings Lynn' now you're gunna get fucking head kicked in" ('Too Bad'). But then Faintest Idea don't mince their words.

As the pun in the title suggests, Ignorance is This is offered as a wake-up call to the masses: "If you're not pissed off then you're not paying attention" ('2 Years Conscription'). Despite running to only 27 minutes, it is packed with heartfelt political discourse which jolts between leftwing, anti-capitalist sympathies, anarchist tendencies and unhindered conspiratorial cynicism: "Fill us full of fear, a false terrorist threat" ('Rational Pride'). Although not exactly eloquent, the lyrics are surprisingly topical, covering everything from conscription to the war on terror, consumerism, racial politics, and the bail-out of the banks. Maybe the line "so don't fucking preach to me" in '2 Years Conscription' is a tad hypocritical, yet whatever your personal politics, it's hard to deny their passionate conviction. And it is a relief to see the working class, leftwing credentials of oi punk being firmly reinstated after years of confusion, demonisation by the press, and flirtation with the far-right.

Musically, Faintest Idea give more than a nod towards the oi sub-genre of punk. Almost the whole album is shouted with such furious conviction (sometimes by the whole band) that I felt somewhat relieved when a melodic sensibility re-appeared in 'This is the System'. It is also in this tune's intro that the band give the clearest hint of the 2-tone influences they list on their MySpace page, alongside more pronounced influences like Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and Dead Kennedys. Indeed it is a shame that, apart from the odd lyrical reference ("But 30 years later we're still in a Ghost Town") and the hard-skanking 'Too Bad', the 2-tone influence is eclipsed by the hardcore.

Throughout, Faintest Idea proudly continue the punk tradition of not being too concerned with technical prowess. The frantic drums often fall out of time; the horn lines are functional instead of fierce; the Capdown-style sax solos don't come close to Jake Sims-Fielding's; and the guitar solos- although more proficient - are misplaced. Not that any of this really matters when you're in the mosh pit, and really that's where this music belongs.

Despite its flaws, Ignorance is This is an enthusiastic attempt to kickstart another punk movement. Cyclic as it is, punk and it's sub-genres really need a scene to thrive. Unfortunately, in Norfolk in 2010, Faintest Idea stand alone, and I'm afraid Ignorance is This is not good enough to be the catalyst for a punk resurrection.

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