View Single Post
Old 08-20-2009, 12:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
Pale and Wan
Fruitonica's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Aus
Posts: 915
Default Warsawpack - Gross Domestic Product

Released 2001

I've just finished reading Davey Moore's essay on Perfect From Now On. I've never heard the album, and I still don't really feel like I need to, but I really enjoyed it because it illustrates perfectly why I've spent the last five minutes staring at this text box, wondering what would be an interesting way to lead into this review. I might as well start with the cover.

The first thing you notice is a skeleton, held together with scientific pins and clamps, pushing a shopping trolley through a brown nothingness. Or more accurately, a washed out sepia collage of poverty, deforestation and other ills. This little narrative already tells you a fair bit about the album, it's going to be political (or is pretending to be).

The most common description of Warsawpack I come across is 'Rage Against the Machine on valium', and the comparison is pretty good. They both share the political bent and pent up rage. But whereas RATM's anger was incendiary, clad in funk metal pyrotechnics. Warsawpack simmers underneath jazzy hip hop, slower and weeping tension underneath every horn riff. Not every song ends with catharsis, but when it comes it is undeniably sweet.

And lyrically, they go about their agenda in very different ways. While La Rocha deals mostly in poetically abstracted revolutionary anthems, Raback is more coherent and precise, nothing resonates with the purity of 'fuck you I won't do what you tell me', but that can be a good thing. If anything it feels more honest, although occasionally the directness of the lyrics leads to some clumsy lines 'And while plants and trees get their energy for free / Why can't complex beings such as we.'

There is one key thematic difference, Warsawpack don't believe the revolution will arrive, and these songs deal with the ramifications of our status quo. Cause and effect. That skeleton pushing the trolley is the bum who shifts his home between underground carparks, looking for somewhere warm. But it's also the last man on earth pushing his possessions down the high way in a world which won't grow food any more.
This focus is evident from the opening track, Year of the Car Crash, a diatribe against energy companies suppression of new technology with the spectre of peak oil looming over everything.

'And it's no wonder, when it involves this much cash
That your engines, still designed to run off of gas
Because you still got ten, twenty good years left
Until the year of the car crash.'

Diabolique follows on and reveals the aftermath, a sinister narrative of searching a post-apocalyptic wasteland for fuel. Cause and Effect. The thread binds Gross Domestic Product, maintaining focus despite the panoramic catalogue of social illnesses. This consistency is mirrored in the music, but a little more diversity probably wouldn't have gone astray. They stick to their slightly funky, jazzy hip hop pretty closely.

Consistent as the album is, there is one high water marks that deserve mention. Pushing ten minutes, the penultimate track Doomsday Device, with it's intricately rippling guitars and flute melody is a wildly spiralling attack on globalisation, materialism, corruption and environmental destruction. And the chorus leaves us in no doubt where civilisation's hubris is leading us.

Look to the sky run
Look to the sky run
Cause that ship's a doomsday device.
Fruitonica is offline   Reply With Quote