It has been a while since a straight-up rock band have committed themselves to political causes.
Vant have followed in the tradition of the Clash and the Manic Street Preachers and taken on subjects from foreign wars to gender politics against a backdrop of buzzsaw guitars and frantic drums.
Whether The Answer, the singer Mattie Vant’s protest against the Syrian war, will cause Vladimir Putin to question his support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime remains to be seen, but at least the Londoners are acknowledging a humanitarian disaster that has been largely ignored in pop music. Elsewhere Peace & Love makes a plea for a return to the idealism of the Sixties counterculture, while the Nirvana-like Lampoon takes aim at Vant’s generation and its obsession with appearances.
Their focus on issues beyond life in a rock band is admirable, yet actually the best song comes not from headlines but experience. Do You Know Me? is a catchy punk-pop thrash over which Vant recalls the isolation of working in call centres, bars and other places where your status as a human is recognised only briefly, if at all. “If someone picks up I’m still alone,” he cries. “They’re just another voice on the telephone.” (Parlophone)