Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Title: Grey
Format: CD
Label: Southern
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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Southern Records have reissued for the first time LoK’s Grey 4-track Ep (1983) and "Sirens are back" Lp (1984). More than 20 years have passed and LoK’s anarcho-post-punk may sound to some nostalgically dated, but it is also a timely reminder of a fiercely independent ethics and a desperately lucid commitment to the underground’s struggle against militarism, law and order values and the tyranny of economic oppression. LoK issued their handful of records for Crass Records and Corpus Christi Records and were one of the music underground voices against Thatcherite Britain. Their music is an impassionate mirror of those times, teeming with apocalyptic images, not just of nuclear weapons but of last-ditch stands, rebels and teenage proletariat. At the same time, their songs can still move, their melodies may not cover too wide a ground but they are insistent, sincere and creative, within the parameters of the genre. The basslines approach a Gang of Four style and LoK entirely deserve to be listened to even after such a long a time. Indeed, today’s political scenario was in a way foreseen by committed prophets of doom and rebellion such as LoK. Their imagery is always concrete, rooted in the material conditions of life in post-industrial Britain, which is the saving grace of most LoK’s lyrics. There’s cinematic poetry in scenes like this one, from "Another sunset": "Leaning over the balcony gazing at the illuminated seascape, now devoid of its once teeming life, you wonder why you decided to stay. Returning to the interior your cassette groans at its slow death, a dreadful parody of what was once music fills the room and your mind, reminding you of its former melody". The abstract language of apocalypse is always matched by references to individual choices, places and things, so that LoK speak to us as finally committed to humanness, despite everything. I confess that I am one of those who bought the original "Sirens are back" Lp at the time. I, too, am a child of those times, and of the times that have elapsed since. I am happy that LoK haven’t been entirely forgotten.


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