Thee Faction - Good Politics (Soviet Beret)

Thee Faction – Good Politics (Soviet Beret)

“It took Nye Bevan and the Labour party 6 years after the WWII to set up the Welfare State,” say the band, “and it’s taken the Tories a lifetime to dismantle it. But they’re nearly done.” Thee Faction

Thee Faction, who are they?

London nine-piece Thee Faction formed in the 70s when four schoolmates met (Billy Brentford, The Hard Man, Nylons and Dai Nasty), and subsequently joined in the early 80s by Dai’s cousin from Wales, teenage runaway Baby Face.Thee Faction deliver incendiary dance floor filling, revolutionary- Rhythm-and-blues with fire in the heart and a twinkle in the eye, this is as far away as you can get from the latest hipster band as you can get and all the more refreshing for it! This is grown up music played with all the enthusiasm of young upstarts with names like characters from Bugsy Malone! Thee Faction are possessors of the melodic fire of Dr Feelgood rallying arm in arm with the scorched punk of the MC5 and the restless- musical-nouse of prime time Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Political music, it’s all a bit outdated isn’t it?

NO! Most music journalists are actually just scared to cover music with a message in 2013 cowering to advertisers dollar and behind the banner of balance, but there’s always been protest in song. And in an age of austerity and a venomously, unfair Condem that nobody voted for, we desperately need bands like Thee Faction to organise, agitate and get the party started. And this isn’t just empty headed leftism for the sake of it, Thee Faction are steeped in the theories of GDH Cole, Karl Marx, and Gramsci crucially delivering it with a jukebox blaring tunefulness!

“Every war has sing-alongs,” say Thee Faction, “so why not the class war?” Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS trade union, agrees: “They’re carrying on a proud tradition by providing the soundtrack to our marches and strikes against this government of millionaires who are trying to undo all the things we have fought for.”

But their new album Good Politics, is it any good!?

YES! Good Politics see’s Thee Faction deliver their finest sermon yet, ‘Better than Wages’ buzzes and jives marvelously, laced with euphoric call-response- choruses that places man above commodity,  lashed against bracing brass backdrops. Infectious, comical, at times a little dirty and respectful of the roots of blues and northern soul: this is Citizen Smith given a bold new soundtrack! The pace is kept up by the work is a four letter word howl of ‘Employment’ which punches its message that: “the 9-5 is the method by which this hegemonic economy controls you”, onto your time sheet.

‘Good Politics’ also shows off Thee Faction’s appreciation of their eclectic ‘good music’ heritage ‘It Don’t Work’ melds funky Chic-like-baselines, with urgent polemic sass, Huey Lewis and the News it ain’t brother…”Don’t get sick because the ward’s shut/ They get the bonus we get the cuts” fire the scorched vocal chords of singer Billy Brentford on the furious standout ‘Condemnation’ that rails with the refrains ‘we didn’t start a class war/but we’re gonna end one’ which he delivers with the devotion of a preacher who means it man! There’s lashing of good humour too,  ‘The Push’‘s 70s sway pop sees Billy and Kassandra Krossing’s trading vocal vignettes see-sawing on a bed of good time glam-pop that would make Mott The Hoople proud as punch!

Previous ‘hit’ ‘Deft Left’ is given a brass and fuzz respray, pumping a placard high in the air on a wave of wah-wah guitar, pummeling drums it’s crafty lyric scolding the New Labour machine and sets a manifesto for the future upon a thrill ride of bluesy sneers and hooks.  Rounded off with the eight minutes of further reading supplying us with a list of books that contain theories of good politics, socialism, exposing the materialism and unfairness of a capitalist society.

But, do we need Thee Faction?

YES!As the shadows clear and the art of protest in music seems to be crippled by a mainstream scared of offending their sponsors and a culture afraid of challenging the hegemony. Thee Faction have been standing up and speaking up since the 70s finding prominence during the divisive Miners strikes of the 1980s. “In Yugoslavia, at the turn of the 90s, Thee Faction suddenly became a 7-piece. Billy Brentford and Baby Face were working on pirate radio in Belgrade when they found two singers who shared Thee Faction’s unique commitment not just to Marxism but also to Socialist R&B. Krystina-Prystina Engels and Kassandra Krossing immediately became full members of the band.”

These are Rollicking good tunes with a message, maybe it’s not breaking any musical boundaries but they are firing up the barricade lines, this is music that demands to exist what’s more it’s delivered with more humour than a year’s worth of Socialist worker publications. At a time when Cameron and his cronies are busy dismantling the welfare state, away from the Westminster bubble a band of brothers and sisters: Thee Faction embody the real meaning of ‘Good Politics’  and they are singing down the government one song at a time!


Wilko Johnson: “You do it right WHEN YOU ATTACK THE RIGHT.”


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.