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Current Affairs – Album: Off The Tongue (review)

The debut full-length studio album from Current Affairs is definitely one to make you want to shake your bones. It sounds at once effortless and urgent, railing against systemic oppression, but hoping for better times. In the words of singer Joan Sweeney: ‘Current Affairs is where I can burn the world down one minute, and then push for brighter things the next’.

Comprised of Sweeney, Andrew Milk, Gemma Fleet and Sebastian Ymai, the Glasgow-based quartet are queer activists involved with visual art, festivals, club nights and live art (Pink Pound is Milk’s minxy drag alter-ego). Essentially, their gritty, day-glow music echoes such a diversity of interests and passions. Sweeney’s voice, a tuneful, wild yelp, anchors all the songs. It’s often evocative of brilliant punky women like Ari Up, Siouxsie Sioux, Exene Cervenka, and Gina Birch from The Raincoats, but is still very much her own voice: a unique instrument in its own right.

Tracks like ‘No Fuss’ have real fury, underpinned by a killer rhythm section, murky goth guitar and deeply restless nature. The lyrics are often confrontational. ‘You turn everything into NOTHING! YOU! YOU!’ Sweeney shrieks on ‘Cahoots’, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the recipient of her ire. ‘Right Time’ is a catchy as hell, a righteous call to arms, and ‘Casual Radicals’ is itchy funk-punk. It all feels genuinely alternative with sharp edges, anathema to mainstream, faux-indie playlists. It’s all so energising. Tracks aren’t too long – around three minutes – which is perfect as they’re like little sharp shocks.

Off The Tongue is fun, but fierce; smart, and oppositional: the real deal in a time when authenticity in the music industry is starting to look a little scarce.

Off The Tongue is out 14th July via Tough Love Records Lorna Irvine

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