Love Music Hate Racism have been organising grassroot campaigns to combat racism and xenophobia across the UK since 2002. However, in this turbulent year of lockdowns and social distancing, their campaigning and fundraising, usually in the form of gigs and events, have had to adapt. LMHR Glasgow’s latest release: The Beautiful Resistance is a compilation album that perfectly reflects the year we have all had – veritably incomparable any other. The record is a dizzying anthology of genres, sonic arts, and poetic performances. The artists each bring their own unique sound and influence to the project – ranging from lo-fi to punk to folk – reflecting the diversity of the creative output of Scotland. The variety of backgrounds and influences contribute to a patchwork of each individual’s idea of what it means to be Scottish.
The album has something for everyone. Personal highlights begin with The Positive Experience’s genderpunk poetics and move through Bee Asha Singh’s spoken word performance to The Kidney Flowers precipitous punk rock. All of the artists involved offer something new and fresh. With such a strange mix of sounds it would be easy to leave a listener confused and overwhelmed. Yet, The Beautiful Resistance is skilfully balanced. The similarities of each artist tend to lie within subject rather than sound; although each song may engage with the topic differently, the core sentiments meld together to question the innate relationship we have to the idea of belonging.
The album is interspersed with four impactful live recorded speeches from Black Lives Matter and Stand Up to Racism activists. The speeches are arguably the most important aspect of the compilation – impassioned voices shouting their experiences to crowds of protesters are here immortalised. These stories can be played back over and over until they are understood, assimilated, and learned from. Eventually a listener might feel both the pain and joy of the immigrant experience, and recognise the struggle against racism in the UK: in the face of Brexit, and through the solidarity of the BLM movement. The Beautiful Resistance is an important album, in 2020 especially; it brims with talent and hope for the decades to come.