It is rare that I am stuck for words when it comes to reviewing an album but such was my experience when I sat down to write about “Solution Songs.” Why was that then I hear you cry? Did you hate it? Well no, I didn’t hate it, quite the opposite. This is an album that has dug its way into my consciousness in a way that no other album has for a very very long time.
I have reviewed some truly amazing albums since I started writing this blog but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that has touched me on such a deep level since Stiff Little Fingers released “Inflammable Material” a lifetime ago. To this day “Inflammable Material” remains my favourite ever album, I don’t necessarily consider it the best album ever, that honour goes to Van Morrison for “Astral Weeks,” but it did change my life.
As a 18-year-old who had recently joined the Navy to get myself out of Northern Irelands troubles, what Inflammable Material did was to awaken me to the fact that people did not have to sit back and accept life as it was. We did not have to accept what politicians, and in Northern Irelands case the terrorists, decreed as our lot. And so it is with Thee Concerned Citizens. Solution songs is overtly political, it is revolutionary and it lays out in all its sad and painful ignominy all that is wrong with the UK today.
Please do not misunderstand me this is not a miserable record, far from it. It is bright, cheery and hopeful. It encourages awareness of what the politicians want you to ignore, it tells of the shift of wealth from the poor to the already rich. It lays the corruption of UK politics open to scrutiny and contempt. It lambasts the disturbing rise of the populist right wing in UK politics and it tries to raise the understanding that the politics of fear are absolutely the wrong way to go. Solution songs raises the awareness that hope and fairness is the solution, that the promotion of Social democracy and a belief in the post-war social contracts that the current government is attacking is the way forward.
Solution songs raise the hope that the working classes need to stand up and demand that our politicians represent the interests of voters and not the interests of Politicians and of corporations who take without ever giving anything back. This is not an album of despair, it is an album of hope, it stirs the blood and it works it’s way into your heart and soul.
I am not going to give a track by track breakdown, that would neglect the important fact that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. What i will say is that it is beautifully put together and engineered. The musicianship, the lyrics, the vocals are all superb.
Suffice to say that in the last five days I have played the album in its entirety no fewer than 16 times! Please get onto Soundcloud, search for TheeCeeCees, listen to the album, share it pass it on and help the band to help people to realise that the situation is not hopeless. If we stand together in solidarity we can make a difference. Lets get the country realising that and standing together to sing “Solution Songs!” When the album is released just before the election BUY IT!
In the 70s it would have been called a ‘supergroup’. How about we call it a ‘superb-group’, or Thee Concerned Citizens (Thee Cee Cees)? Being:
Chris T-T (Xtra Mile recording artiste & D.I.Y. music expert) lead vocals
Adam Devlin (The Bluetones) lead guitar
Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard (Strummer/Foxton/Archive/The Alarm) drums
Billy Brentford (Thee Faction) rhythm & polemic
Andy Lewis (Paul Weller/Spearmint/Pimlico) bass & memotron
Kerry Schultz & Darren Hayman other vocals
Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) guitar
Manic Street Preachers’ string section on ‘Relentless’