Polemic Beat Poetry

CD Cover Papa Brittle
Nettwerk Records

Review by P. Freako

37-second excerpt from "Stress Killer on the Loose" (various formats)

If you like Rage Against the Machine and early Chili Peppers, then I think you're going to enjoy Britain's Papa Brittle. Upon viewing the CD jacket, you get the impression right off that Papa Brittle has some things to say about society. The front cover shows a laptop computer with an image of a fetus on the monitor, a cable oozing blood running from the computer. The back cover shows several intravenous bags filled with this same blood. Not exactly a warm picture for sure with its cold and graphic imagery.

The standout song for me is "Stress Killer on the Loose" in which Papa Brittle manage to combine their own funky, jazz undertones and softer vocals with their aforementioned influences to create a beat poetry sound. These jazzy undertones are most evident on "I am Mulatto." In "Genocide Express," the lyrics speak angrily of genocide, media control, the self-imposed policing of the world by the Americans, society droning and corporate bullshit in general. As an interesting side note, the soft voice of Sarah McLachlan is added to this tune.

There are several bold statements made throughout the record, including "You just can't say because the Nazi's did it it's wrong, life doesn't work that way." Now, like most thinking humans, I hate the Nazis, but this statement may just point out that we are, as polemicist Lloyd Sparks says, "in the process of media hypnosis." Unfortunately, in these times of mass media, with its instantaneous all-or-nothing perceptions, perhaps life does work that way. That's why bands like Papa Brittle bring their message to us, to get us to think, and move forward, and on with the polemic.

Papa Brittle challenges all that controls their surroundings, and that includes themselves. Musically, the CD is hard rock funk, and isn't anything overly unique. But, it is still interesting enough to warrant some listens, as, after all, you should be making up your own mind. So, you'll just have to go buy it and listen to it for yourself. Break free from media hypnosis!

First published in Drop-D Magazine on June 7, 1996

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