Chris T-T - 9 Red Songs

Benjamin Short 31/10/2005

Rating: 4/5

Do you hate hype? Do you despise the way music writers speak in worthless soundbites like spin-obsessed New Labour politicians? Well tough shit, because '9 Red Songs' is quite possibly the most essential, powerful thing that this over-excitable hack has heard in ages. Perhaps we should let Chris T-T himself explain why this record is so vitally important: 'Nobody's got any good red songs any more / and Billy Bragg's gone fishing in his 4x4', he sings on 'Preaching to the Converted', mourning the tragic death of the folk protest genre. The fact that a singer-songwriter previously best known for a single entitled 'Eminem Is Gay' ('Will the queer Slim Shady please stand up?') has discovered his political consciousness is much unexpected. Yet '9 Red Songs' is no po-faced polemic. There are sweet, cooing backing vocals on 'Bankrupt', and the organic atmospherics of 'M1 Song' are also satisfying. You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of Chris T-T's lethal wit, either! 'You loved the fucking poll tax / you propped up Margaret Thatcher / and you didn't give a fuck about Tony Blair 'til he threw your hobby back at ya' is how he dismisses the Countryside Alliance on 'The Huntsman Comes A-Marching', before going on to accuse them of incest. Next, on 'Uh… The Press', he unleashes his wrath on Paul Dacre, demonic editor of the Daily Mail. 'Admit One', composed of sampled percussion and droning subhuman vocals, is the only song that fails to make an impact. Yet all in all, this record is an honest, momentous manifesto for an anxious era.