The Chapman Family / Cruel Britannia
We sit down to these Northerners' latest effort. If you're enjoying being British right now, turn away.
The Chapman Family
Cruel Britannia EP
It seems weird to be listening to an EP called Cruel Britannia in a week where the UK has reached boiling point in terms of giving itself a very big slap on the back.
Well done UK, you did precisely nothing for them to succeed, and they have done nothing for you – not in real terms – but it all seems really good somehow, doesn't it?
If there's a band to bring back the harsh reality of Cameron's Britain then it's The Chapman Family. Unrelenting, angry, poetic and loud. Cruel Britannia is an ode to the underdog: when the underdog is a pitbull biting back.
The first two tracks see The Chapman's move into more harsh sounding territory than was largely present on full length debut Burn Your Town. The title track bursts with scuzzy garage guitars while opener No More Tears fuzzes out with the mosh pit friendly, fists in the air, “No more hate/No more lies” chant.
It's actually when they strip themselves back a bit that The Chapman Family make the most affect though. Summer Song acts both as an anti-love song and as a narrative of living under the shadow of unemployment (“I'm wasting away/I'm wasting my time/I'm wasting my life/not for the first time”).
Every Day Is Like Sunday (a cover [many thanks to @tdwoodhead for making us feel stupid]) meanwhile closes the EP with not much more than percussion and piano as accompanyment to Kingsley's warm vocals. “This is the coastal town that they forgot to close down/Come armageddon, come” he croons in his Teeside accent. This stripped down approach really works.
They're obviosuly trying out quite a few new routes before their second LP in this EP. Let's hope they don't lose the subtly which makes them so affecting in the first place to the loudness which gets them noticed.