The surprise smash and grab of Benefits’ debut release ‘Taking Us Back’ in October blended elements of post-punk, Sleaford Mods’ cutting satire and (criminally overlooked anarcho-recidivists) The Private Sector into three minutes of topical and instantly memorable political rhetoric. However, frontman and guitarist Kingsley Chapman (ex-The Chapman Family, The Murder) promised something more caustic and musically challenging going forward. Indeed, the band’s only gig to date was 17-minutes of scorched earth guitar noise and ideology half-buried in the brutal delivery and industrial noisecore of the majority of the set with some of the audience barely registering a reworking of The Chapman Family’s ‘Kids’ in the entangled discourse.
For those at the back this is a band who are basically anti-establishment to the point of anarchy but with a canny knack for simplifying what we are all thinking into savvy-as-fuck soundbites. Follow up, ‘Marlboro Hundreds’ is indeed less song-shaped but no less vital as it disassembles political junk into you, your National Insurance number and your apathetic ignorance of the crumbling state.
And while the visceral dual polemic refrains of “you are not a statistic” and “ignore cartoon fascists, reject hate” are almost lost in the sweet, sweet melee there is a depth to the composition that demands repeat listens and, in a wonderful year for heavy experimental music and, armed with guitar, bass (Paul Chapman), drums (Jonny Snowball) and a sequencer (Robbie Major) all mixed way in the red, they create sheets of aural abrasions like a sonic layer cake. As distortion and static dual with guitars and drums ‘Marlboro Hundreds’ is the sound of a doomed Brexit, but it’s the sound of something starting to happen too…
So, in the run up to the election take heed from Benefits and remember, “don’t get fooled again…they repeat the lie until it’s true, they repeat the lie until it’s true…question everything, question everything”.
‘Marlboro Hundreds’ by Benefits is streaming now