Harrisons: No Fighting In The War Room

[29 September 2008]

By D.M. Edwards

Harrisons are a group from Sheffield who may or may not still exist. Either way, on this debut album and DVD set they borrow from some classic sources such as Dr. Strangelove, Kes, The Clash, and (to some extent) The Teardrop Explodes. The band brings plenty of energy and benefit from the taut production of Hugh Jones who once did a similar job for Echo & The Bunnymen, The Stranglers, and the aforementioned Teardrops. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, that this is anything more than formulaic, spiky, anthemic pop. Or to put it another way: some 13-year-olds might love it. After establishing a combative, “honest” stance and poking a finger vaguely at the powers that be, there isn’t much else going on. The word “you” gets used a lot, in an accusatory manner. For the video of “Bluenote”, Harrisons do a brief but loving remake of the high school soccer scene from Kes. In Ken Loach’s 1969 original half the kids pretend to be Tottenham while their teacher’s team “is” Manchester United. In their version, Harrisons replace Tottenham with (local team) Sheffield Wednesday. It’s worth seeing, if you’ve seen Kes and more importantly if you haven’t you should remedy that immediately. On the other hand, the video for “Dear Constable” is so irritating that I ended up rooting for the riot police to not only take them down but also shut them up.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/harrisons-no-fighting-in-the-war-room/