|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.5 cm|
The album “First Offence” by the Usual Suspects
Usual Suspects – First Offence
CD review by Ian Deardan
Raw, rough-edged, ragged and passionate – there’s always room in these troubled times for a band that’s prepared to wear their hearts on its collective sleeves and deliver protest songs that are in your face and confronting. From the opening number “How Long” (which challenges us to consider the question “are we safer today?”), to the ongoing controversy about who should be able to come to this country (“Refugee”), and some (perhaps unwelcome) advice to the Coalition of the Willing (“The Iraq Song”), this album doesn’t pull any punches. With original material from band members Frank Russell, Marilyn Russell and Cec Bucello, as well as a cover of Wilco’s “When the Roses Bloom Again”, and the traditional “The Man Who Struck O’Hara”, this first album carries a great punch from the Usual Suspects.
The sound is spare and the instrumentation is stripped back and acoustic. These guys sound like they could be sitting in your lounge room, pricking your conscience and challenging your prejudices. On the strength of this debut album, the era of the protest song (and protest singers) is alive and well and kicking strongly. Long may it continue!
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