There’s a lot of politically charged music coming out at the moment, and in a society that’s presently so divided on social and political issues, it’s a positive thing to see that people give a damn enough to make a statement; that there are so many artists with something to say and a willingness to say it. Manchester in particular right now seems to be a hotbed of great new music in general, and it’s there where Mark Corrin is based.
EP II: Driver is, as the name might suggest, the second EP of a series that Corrin’s producing for 2017, and across three tracks, manages to convey the furious dissatisfaction of the present social climate over a musical style which sounds influenced by sources as varied as post-punk, rockabilly and hip/trip hop.
Drive the Bus (Off the Cliff) has a very definite post-punk flavour to it with a rhythm reminiscent of the upright bass riffs of rockabilly. There’s an enjoyable driving groove to the music which pairs perfectly with the sneeringly laid back vocal style and bleakly humorous lyrics.
Billowing Clouds of Hopeless Despair puts me a little in mind of earlier Tricky, particularly in the lyrical delivery and rhythmic style. After the rapid pace of the opening track, this takes us to a more laid back feeling altogether, with a slower, more stripped back sound, and even a shift in the vocal delivery. As the title suggests, though, it’s an intentional move, and far from being a slow and boring number, there remains that rolling undercurrent of furious energy even whilst the sense of despair runs through it. “They made themselves blind, whilst they bought into the lies”.
The Morning Rage finishes the EP with another laid back groove, although a different feel again. More similar in style to the second track than the first, it’s nevertheless got a fresh sound going on. What I’ve enjoyed a lot about this EP is that there’s a clear difference in the fundamental musical styles and it keeps things interesting, but at the same time, core elements throughout tie the tracks together into one coherent piece.
Current events and politics can be a tricky subject, but the dark humour which threads throughout the EP knocks just the right amount off the sharp corners, and whilst the lyrics tend towards allusion and metaphor rather than overly direct description or statement, it’s pretty clear what this is about and Corrin succeeds in producing a bleakly cynical atmosphere within an extremely enjoyable listening experience.