In a concussive punk music that embodies the oppressive discontent of the present, Stevenage’s finest export Bad Breeding ignite a mayhem that is unfiltered, incisive and furious. Throughout the band’s work the grievances of the marginalised majority are articulated with an impassioned frustration. The way the young and the voiceless are excluded, the insidious process by which privatisation and social cleansing has fractured communities, the manipulation of pride and patriotism, the corrupt conditioning of an exploited population. Many of the bleak schisms and failures of the current moment are confronted and torn into in a ferocious response to contemporary malaise.
On ‘Abandonment’ they present four tirades for the relegated, captured on the eve of a European tour. Without recourse to post-production refinement this is a document of all they could muster in one room in Berlin with Ben Greenberg (Uniform) at the controls. The results capture all the urgent turbulence of their live show, bristling with a riotous power that casts aside any trace of moderation.
Their first retaliation, the title track, is a sincere depiction of enforced compliance, a blast of irate discord that addresses the strain between opposing generations. The pressure of old hands on young minds. The unwanted legacy of obedience. If this comes as a blistering initiation ‘Dehumanised’ is the unrelenting second round. A mercurial maul of brute low end, rough velocity and howled aggravation that rails against the reality of living under an indifferent system.
With ‘Psychic Copper’ the band continue to affirm the worth of their ruthless concision, distilling punk down to an assertive impetus that hammers home a supreme hostility. Referencing Robert Bly and the Mythopoetic men’s movement the lyrics of ‘PC’ pour scorn on those who harbour ingrained stereotypes, masculine or otherwise. Yet despite the mark of hidden depths there’s no detraction from their purposeful uproar. Everything remains devastatingly on course. No more so than in the case of their last strike ‘Complicit’ where reflections on conformity and guilt are tackled with a vicious delirium. In this they grasp the negation of a very British ignorance, and in the utter wreckage of the closing moments they evoke a scene of wilful destruction.
Whether or not all this converts the doubtful hardly matters. The energy presented here doesn’t lie. Noise like this could only have come from the exiled and suppressed. Amongst a culture littered with modish attempts at ‘political’ music, egocentric performances of online outrage and compromised media commentary Bad Breeding engage in an honest and attentive fury that avoids ulterior motive. True to themselves and where they come from, the band fix upon an irrepressible surge of agitation that is, in every sense, important at a time when ‘profit negates life’, when the neglected are ‘left to sink’ and when there seems to be ‘no end to disillusion’.”