Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Review: Permanent Revolution by Catch Twenty Two

Here'a review i wrote that recently got published in the Socialist (although I was a little upset it got published as a letter) Anyway, as you can see I really like this album, hence it being what i've mostly been listening to for the last few weeks (see it's not cos i'm too lazy to bother changing it!)

Review – Permanent Revolution by Catch Twenty Two (Victory Records, 2006)

The ideas of Leon Trotsky seem to be getting a greater airing recently. Firstly I became aware in January that Venezuela’s ‘socialist’ president, Hugo Chavez, had been referring to Trotsky and the Theory of the Permanent Revolution in a speech. Then only a few weeks later I hear several tracks from this album, by US band Catch Twenty Two, based on the life of Trotsky, whom one of the members of the band had been reading about
The band’s publicity describes the album as ‘an uplifting, political and inspirational album for fans of ska, punk and reggae’. It is a description that I wholeheartedly agree with; the political career of Leon Trotsky spanned an era of great revolutionary upheavals from the beginning of the 20th century until the start of the Second World War. Apart from the prologue and epilogue each song is about a period the band has picked out as a key part of his life. Starting with the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, we proceed to the glorious revolution of 1917, Lenin’s death (1924), his final exile from Russia at the hands of Stalin (1927), and assassination in 1940, each song tries to capture the feel of that moment in his life, and I think succeeds in this endeavour.
My only criticism is that unless you know who Trotsky was, then you have no idea who the album refers to, likewise what a Permanent Revolution is. Perhaps the band did not see the need to explain this, although I would have thought they would at least include a dedication and a reference to the book they had read about it for people to find out more. Trotsky isn’t even referred to in the lyrics, of all the leaders of the Russian Revolution only Lenin is mentioned by name.
All that said, my personal conviction remains that this is the best album I have heard in several years. This album is very much recommended, particularly if you are fans of ska or punk genres of music.

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