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On The Lough [Reflect The Sun Records]
Make this man Taoiseach or Chairman of the Provisional Government or something
Patrick Freyne, 21 Jan 2010
Mixing politics and social commentary with music is a tricky business. Those held up as great political musicians are usually vague daydreamers. Bob Dylan? Bono? Yeah, peace and change are lovely n’all, but should local government be funded from the national purse or through a devolved localised taxation system? And do you prefer proportional representation or a first-past-the-post list system? And where are you registered for tax reasons?
In the ’80s, bands like Crass and Conflict added a bit more detail to rock’n’roll’s limited thought processes, but they often ended up shouting complex political manifestos amusically over guitar grind, losing the public imagination in the process. Enter Captain Moonlight. Hip-hop is the perfect place to absorb those Crass-like manifestos in a way that doesn’t eschew catchiness and that’s exactly where Kilkenny iconoclast Captain Moonlight turns in the third record in his Agroculture series.
Over bleeps and burps, deep bass, stray trumpets and cosmic indie guitar from producer Davey Holand, he eloquently takes pre and post-Celtic Tiger Ireland to task for complacency and stupidity. His diagnosis? We’ve been shafted by a bunch of bastards. His prescription? Getting off our arses. Okay, it’s not too hot on the details of parliamentary process but it’s liberating, thoughtful, inspirational and it flows.
Essentially Captain Moonlight gives the Irish political elite a good shafting in his own Kilkenny vernacular. Some props are due to Irish hip-hop pioneers Scare Éire who first rapped the words “shite” and “Jaysus” (year zero for Irish hip hop), but they never had the relentlessness of the on-message Captain Moonlight. He’ll be heading a provisional revolutionary government by March, I predict, and I happily offer my services to help herd pinstriped banksters into his underground sugar mines.
Key Track: ‘Fuck U’